Freshwater Stories

  • Five facts you might not know about groundwater

    Groundwater is the most abundant and accessible source of freshwater available to humans. Today, groundwater supports 40% of irrigated crop production, drinking water for more than a quarter of the world’s population, and helps maintain nearly half of all freshwater ecosystems.

    A child pumps water by hand.
  • 'Swimways' critical to keep rivers free flowing for migratory animals

    Swimways, the aquatic version of ‘Flyways,’ is a new take on an existing conservation mechanism to increase the value of protecting continuous stretches of free-flowing rivers as a migratory pathway necessary for many aquatic animals.

    Sockeye salmon  (Oncorhynchus nerka) migration, Adams River, British Columbia, Canada. October.
  • Heavily poached sturgeon slip toward extinction

    July 21, 2022

    Sturgeon and paddlefish—freshwater fish that have existed for hundreds of millions of years—now face extinction due mainly to the illegal trade in wild-caught caviar and meat. The world’s first comprehensive assessment of the species in over 13 years, released today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), confirmed that all 26 remaining species are now threatened with extinction.

    A gray sturgeon sits on the sandy bottom of one of the Great Lakes
  • How insurers play a key role in combating harmful hydropower

    June 22, 2022

    Insurance companies act as risk managers, insurers, and investors, and provide support for the development of hydropower projects in all three of these roles. Their support will be critical in combating harmful hydropower projects—and helping to tackle the nature crisis.

    Aerial view of a hydropower dam with water on one side and forest on the other
  • What is groundwater and why is it so important?

    March 21, 2022

    Did you know that the drinking water for almost 50% of the people in the United States comes from underground? The term "freshwater" often conjures images of flowing streams or large, cool lakes, but in reality, almost all freshwater in the world (that isn't frozen and locked away in ice caps and glaciers) is groundwater.

    A woman filling up a bucket of water at a makeshift well under a bridge
  • First-ever satellite tagging of river dolphins in Asia

    February 22, 2022

    In a major boost to the conservation of the endangered Indus river dolphin, WWF experts in collaboration with the Sindh Wildlife Department safely tagged three dolphins in Pakistan with satellite transmitters in January 2022.

    A gray river dolphin's head breaches the water
  • Innovation in river dolphin conservation

    December 07, 2021

    Electronic pingers attached to fishing nets create noises that deter dolphins and save them from becoming bycatch.

    dolphin jumping
  • How toilets can help save people, communities, and the environment

    November 19, 2021

    Toilets play an essential role in both the health of people and the environment, but billions of people worldwide do not have access to these critical facilities. Functioning toilets serve to improve the health and cleanliness of rivers and waterways—and the life that depends on them.

    Children collect water at a kiosk in Kenya
  • Two women and a baby on a river bank, one washing clothes and the other casting a net while all smile
  • Rewilding the Danube River

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2021
    Last October, specialists released 700 Russian sturgeon into the Danube River in Isaccea, Romania. The restocking project is part of a Danube-wide effort to revive wild sturgeon in the region.
    Hands holding fish
  • Resilient rivers

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2021
    In Cambodia, WWF sets its sights on keeping the lower Mekong River flowing free
    Mangrove roots on riverbank
  • A dam predicament

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2021
    By engaging with decision-makers and key players around the world, WWF works to keep dams from impeding free-flowing rivers while amplifying opportunities for sustainable energy-producing alternatives
    Solar panels in mountain landscape
  • One-third of freshwater fish face extinction and other freshwater fish facts

    February 23, 2021

    Freshwater fish are vital for communities, economies, and ecoystems. But they are under increasing threat and need our help now more than ever.

    School of buffalo fish swim toward underwater camera
  • WWF study finds 509 new dams planned or under construction in protected areas

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2021
    Rivers are more than water; they’re the lifeblood of ecosystems. So when a river’s natural flow is impeded by a dam, biodiversity suffers.
    Winding river from above
  • Crossing Paths

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2020
    As seasonal waters ebb and flow, the movements of elephants and other wildlife follow.
    African elephant facing camera
  • Flow Lines

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2020
    Keeping water flowing for people and wildlife in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area will take action at every level. Here's what WWF is doing for it.
    Aerial photo of three elephants wading through water
  • Mongolia protects millions of acres of freshwater ecosystem

    June 23, 2020

    Twenty-one percent of the country's territory is now protected, including a vital free flowing river

    View from a mountaintop over the Onon River
  • Critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and the world’s most productive freshwater fishery saved from destructive dam

    March 30, 2020

    In a significant step forward for nature and communities that depend on the mighty Mekong River, the Cambodian government has abandoned plans to build the Sambor hydropower dam and has put a 10-year moratorium on any new dams on the Mekong mainstem.

    Aerial river Cambodia (Kampuchea)
  • Working together to build climate change resilience and protect vital water in Guatemala

    In Guatemala, thousands of people call the Teculutan and Pasabien watersheds home. Under the cover of iconic cloud forests, rivers flow down from the mountainous region called the Sierra de Las Minas; providing fresh water for nature and these communities, for drinking, hygiene and sanitation, agriculture, as well as for business operations and so much more.

    Aerial photograph of freshwater sources in the Sierra las de Minas mountain in Guatemala.
  • With access to fresh water, a school garden grows

    February 04, 2020

    In 2009, principal and teacher Marcia Novakc da Silva decided to join forces to start a community rainwater project, led by the organization Incra and supported by WWF. The work is one of  several projects for the recovery of the springs and water supply in region.

    Student waters plant in school garden
  • Finding a delicate balance in the Pantanal

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2020
    The sprawling Pantanal supports a wealth of wildlife, plants, and people. As pressures intensify in this ecosystem, multinational cooperation and a holistic strategy are key to a better way forward.
    South America
  • People of the Pantanal

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2020
    Development within the Pantanal must be managed sustainably. Today, community members across the region are working to conserve this essential landscape and their own way of life.
    Bandeira family
  • Mighty Mangroves

    Mangroves are a vibrant part of coastal wetlands on five continents. Explore some of the most diverse coastal forests around the world.

    A view of mangroves along the coast from the water
  • A new water treatment plant transforms life for a community in the Pantanal

    January 30, 2020

    Before the water treatment facility was built on Margarita Island, the 350 residents of the tiny Paraguayan community drank straight from the Paraguay River. Pollutants, dumped by fishermen, tourists and cargo ships, as well as farms and factories located along the river, made kids sick, and stained their clothes with mud.

    water treatment plant on Isla Margarita, Paraguay, Pantanal