Global water expert to discuss resource management at ASU lecture

portrait of Sandra Postel

Sandra Postel, a leading authority on water issues affecting the world today and founder of the Global Water Policy Project, will give the 2014 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University.

The lecture, titled “Our Global Freshwater Future: New Solutions for a Thirsty World,” will focus on the challenges associated with managing precious freshwater resources in the face of exploding human population. The talk is set for 7 p.m., Nov. 18, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. For tickets and reservations go to

“As population and consumer demands rise against a finite water supply, rivers are running dry, lakes are shrinking and groundwater is being depleted. Many say water will be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th – a source of conflict and civil unrest,” she said.

“Meanwhile, climate disruption is altering the global water cycle, adding new challenges to vexing water problems. So the question arises: can we feed, clothe and provide energy and water for nine billion people, while at the same time sustaining the ecosystems that support our economies and the web of life on the planet? The answer is yes, but it will require new approaches to how we use, manage, value and even think about freshwater,” added Postel, who will address these approaches to freshwater management and conservation in the Centennial Lecture.

Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and lectures, writes and consults on global water issues. In 2010 she was appointed Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, where she serves as the society’s lead water expert. Sandra is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being pioneered by National Geographic and its partners, and piloted in the Colorado River Basin.

Sandra is the author of several acclaimed books, including the award-winning "Last Oasis," which appears in eight languages and was the basis for a PBS documentary.

She has authored more than 100 articles for popular and scholarly publications, from Science and Natural History to Foreign Policy and Ecological Applications. Sandra, who is the recipient of several honorary degrees, has been named a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment and one of the “Scientific American 50” for her contributions to water policy.

She has served as visiting senior lecturer at Mount Holyoke College and as director of the college’s Center for the Environment. She has appeared in dozens of television and radio shows nationally and internationally, as well as in some half dozen films, including the BBC’s "Planet Earth" and Leonardo DiCaprio’s "The 11th Hour."