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1Thing in the Upstate

The Columbia Water Center

In honor of Nelson Mandela, who recognized the connection between the environment and civil rights:
“We know that political freedom alone is still not enough if you lack clean water. Freedom alone is not enough without light to read at night, without time or access to water to irrigate your farm, without the ability to catch fish to feed your family. For this reason the struggle for sustainable development nearly equals the struggle for political freedom. They can grow together or they can unravel each other.”
1Thing supports the Columbia Water Center’s mission to creatively tackle water challenges of a rapidly changing world where water and climate interact with food, energy, ecosystems and urbanization.

Why Water?
As worldwide populations grow and affluence increases, the demand for food and water is on the rise. At the same time, climate variability and change are making it difficult to provide water where and when it is needed. Floods destroy communities in one part of the world, while in another people trek miles every day just to get enough water to survive. Given its pervasiveness and the need for local action, water scarcity is becoming one of the most difficult challenges we need to address in the 21st century.

What the Columbia Water Center does
Founded in January 2008, the Columbia Water Center is committed to understanding and addressing both the role and scarcity of fresh water in the 21st century. The Water Center was established for the purpose of studying the diminishing levels of fresh water and creating innovative sustainable and global solutions.

The Water Centers work is founded on the principle that meaningful improvements in water quality and access depend on resolving increasing water shortages. The greatest improvements in water sustainability stem from concentrating on the sector with the greatest consumption the agricultural sector. Much of our research, therefore, focuses on improving efficiency of agricultural water use, especially in the developing world where water problems are most prevalent.
The Water Center aims to provide rigorous, research-based knowledge as the foundation on which to make informed policy decisions about the management of water systems. The Water Center strives to change one-dimensional approach to water and instead study watersheds holistically.

In addition to research, the Water Center both sponsors a seminar series featuring talks on water-related issues, and develops educational opportunities, such as an internship program and water-related courses.

Learn more about the Columbia Water Center and how you can support their work.