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Just one-third of the world's longest rivers remain free-flowing

Only a little more than one-third of the world’s 246 longest rivers remain free-flowing, drastically reducing the diverse benefits that healthy rivers provide to people and nature everywhere, according to a new study by WWF and partners.

  • At the Top of the World

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2015
    Snow leopards, fresh water & climate change
    Kyrgyzstan
  • Botswana’s Freshwater Oasis for People and Wildlife

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2015
    In the middle of the Kalahari, the world’s largest inland delta is an oasis
    Water lilies in the Okavango Delta
  • Partnering to Protect a Vital Water Source in Guatemala

    October 08, 2015

    WWF and the Fundacion Defensores de la Naturaleza (FDN), which has official responsibility for managing the natural resources of Sierra de las Minas, work with local residents to protect the vast forests in the region—and the precious water that flows through them.

    sierra minas landscape
  • What’s the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise? And other river dolphin facts

    September 10, 2015

    When we think of dolphins and porpoises, we often don’t think of fresh water. But in parts of South America and Asia, several rivers are home to these charismatic species. Dolphins are among the world’s oldest creatures, along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks. They provide important indicators of the health of rivers.

    Pink river dolphin
  • Rain-Fed Farms: Harnessing the Power of Precipitation

    August 18, 2015

    Rain is the only source of water for some farmers in Mexico. Warmer temperatures mean water supplies are shrinking and agricultural yields are dropping. Here's how a community in the Mexican state of Chihuahua harness rainfall and use it to grow their crops.

    boy with rain-fed farm
  • Why we care about waters that cross borders

    July 22, 2015

    We depend on fresh water for everything from energy to power our cities to food to fuel our bodies and keep us alive. Yet less than 1 percent of the world’s water is fresh and accessible. This means we must work extra hard—together—to protect the invaluable finite resource.

    Rio Grande River, Texas
  • Diving deep into fresh water with WWF's Karin Krchnak

    June 25, 2015

    WWF's Karin Krchnak is passionate about connecting the links between communities’ access to clean water and the role that individuals, especially women, can play in conserving the world’s freshwater resources. She has devoted much of her career to exploring how the sustainable management of rivers can benefit both people and nature.

    Fresh water
  • The Earth Has a Third Pole—And Millions of People Use Its Water

    June 04, 2015

    Overlapping heavily with snow leopard habitat, the Third Pole encompasses the snow-covered mountains surrounding the Tibetan Plateau. The Pole’s thousands of glaciers and regular snow melt form the headwaters for 10 of Asia’s biggest rivers, which bring drinking water, power and irrigation directly to 210 million people, while these river basins indirectly support more than 1.3 billion people.

    lake and mountains in asia
  • A Passion for Conservation Along the Rio Grande

    May 20, 2015

    Big Bend National Park’s river ranger Mike Ryan is passionate about working to conserve the river for future generations. Growing up less than five miles from the river, Ryan has long appreciated its charm, power and role in sustaining life. As a park ranger, Ryan is primarily responsible for law enforcement and protecting Park visitors. However, he spends whatever extra time he can find assisting the Park’s and partnering scientists, conservationists and managers as they restore the river after decades of decline.

    mike ryan in canoe
  • Meet the world's hottest freshwater fish

    May 06, 2015

    Known locally as El Cabezón de Julimes, several thousand pupfish take up exclusive residency in El Pandeño de los Pandos hot springs in this small municipality about 80 minutes southeast of City of Chihuahua, Mexico. Rarely more than two inches long, pupfish live in water that reaches 114 degrees Fahrenheit, earning it the title of “hottest fish in the world.” 

    pupfish
  • Hundreds of Thousands Show Their Support for Fresh Water

    April 22, 2015

    Water plays a massive role for all living things. Yet fresh water—what we use for drinking, growing and cleaning, among many other things—makes up less than 1 percent of all water on the planet. That’s why we need to work extra hard to keep the resource safe, clean and available to all.

    Feet in water 1-3-13 208011
  • Netflix Teams with WWF and Silverback Films to Create Natural History Series Our Planet

    April 15, 2015

    Netflix is teaming up with WWF and Silverback Films on an ambitious four-year project: an eight-part series that explores never-before-filmed wilderness areas in stunning 4K HD.

    reef underwater
  • In Cambodia, Under the Stars and Alongside Dolphins

    April 07, 2015

    As tourism is slowly growing on the Camodian side of the Cambodia-Lao border, travellers can still discover hidden gems and set up tents on sandy islands in the Mekong river, amidst a small group of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.

    dolphin jumping
  • A milestone in the race to save the critically endangered Yangtze finless porpoises

    March 26, 2015

    The critically endangered Yangtze finless porpoise received a lifeline this week when the Chinese government executed a plan to move a small group of the species to a new home.

    Swimming finless porpoises
  • Clean water for healthy communities

    March 23, 2015

    Water—and the sanitation it provides—is an essential ingredient for healthy human life. It is crucial to remember this as world leaders finalize the Sustainable Development Goals, a United Nations-led global framework that will guide development priorities for the next 15 years.

    cameroon washing clothes
  • Can Killing Cane Keep an Iconic River Flowing?

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2015
    Will the eradication of "giant cane" increase resiliency and improve water security along the Rio Grande?
  • The Mekong

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2015
    The Mekong River
  • Access to Clean Water is a Looming Crisis

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2015
    The global demand for fresh water is projected to exceed current supply by more than 40% by 2030. People from many sectors of society are recognizing the need to find solutions.
  • Rewilding a Lakeshore in Latvia

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2015
    gaston in boat
  • Greater Mekong
  • Funky Freshwater Fish

    January 15, 2015

    We’re all familiar with the common bass and trout living in our rivers and lakes. But the underwater freshwater world gets wackier than those basic swimmers.

    congo goliath tiger fish
  • Inspirational leadership on the Rio Grande/Bravo

    January 07, 2015

    Joe Sirotnak, a federal botanist in Big Bend National Park, and his colleagues are focused on restoring and protecting the Rio Grande/Bravo River. This involves removing invasive plants that threaten the natural environment, re-vegetating tributaries that fuel the river, and coordinating crews to help with all these processes.

    joe river ranger
  • Amazon River Cruise

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2014
    The sounds and silences of floating down the Amazon
    boat in amazon
  • Say No to Don Sahong Dam

    September 12, 2014

    Buddhist monks, community mobilizers, youth and various organizations rallied together against a backdrop of boats bearing banners asking Mega First to stop the controversial Don Sahong dam on the Mekong River on Sept. 11, 2014.

    protest on boat