Disclaimer: NWNL does not necessarily endorse the agencies and organizations on these lists.
Please contact us with recommended additions. (We do not include for-profit or political enterprises.)

Sunwapta Falls, Alberta, Canada.   © Alison M. Jones

Call to Action from NWNL: To become involved in providing solutions to water needs, locally or globally, see our Watershed Aid and Solutions list. Remember – it’s too late to be a pessimist!

“No matter what the issue is, it has to be handled at the grass roots. When you take part in something, even though that movement may lose, the juices start flowing and you feel you count.” — Studs Terkel

“The story of civilization is the story of what happens on the banks.” — Will Durant, US historian and philosopher


BioFresh builds a freshwater biodiversity information platform to bring together, and make publicly available, the vast amount of information on freshwater biodiversity currently scattered among a wide range of databases.

BirdLife International: This global partnership conserves birds, habitats and global biodiversity, working towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.

Circle of Blue : This is an international network of journalists, scientists and communications experts that presents information needed on the global freshwater crisis.

Conservation International: CI works at every level – from remote villages to the offices of presidents and premiers – and with governments, nonprofit organizations, universities, businesses and local communities to help protect tropical forests, lush grasslands, rivers, wetlands, abundant lakes and the sea. Through science, policy and fieldwork, CI helps communities, countries and societies initiate smarter development.

Defenders of Wildlife employs innovative, science-based approaches to protect imperiled wildlife, advocate for wildlife friendly climate and renewable energy policies and conserve and restore native habitat. These actions in turn help protect our freshwater supplies.

Direct Relief International (DRI) focuses on strengthening existing fragile health systems in poor areas with resources that enable the trained health workers already there to address the tremendous needs. Their Lake Victoria Basin Integrated Health Initiative will coordinate efforts of health organizations working on water-related diseases in lakeshore regions of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda – all part of the White Nile River Basin

Environmental Working Group (EWG): EWG protects public health and the environment. Its team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers study government data, legal documents, scientific studies and their own laboratory tests.

FAO Fisheries Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI): This department evaluates inland water resources for fisheries; promotes better management, techniques and systems for the culture of fish and other aquatic organisms; and promotes sound environmental conservation practices in lakes and rivers.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): FAO maintains an extensive base on water use at global, national and local levels. It provides assistance to countries in shaping their agricultural policies in relation to water management.

Food and Water Watch: This nonprofit consumer organization works to ensure clean water and safe food in the United States and around the world.

The Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment (FADA) is an informal network of European scientists specialized in freshwater biodiversity. The FADA database is an information system dedicated to freshwater animal species diversity and expert-based distribution formation.

The Freshwater Information Platform offers a collection of resources and tools to support better science, policy and management of freshwater life. Whether you are a scientist, policy maker, consultant, educator, activist or simply an interested citizen, you are sure to find something on the platform that will enrich your work or feed your curiosity. This may be a database, a species distribution map, an exciting article, an online training manual or an idea prompted perusing this knowledge platform.

Future Earth is an international research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world. Bringing together and in partnership with existing programs on global environmental change, Future Earth is an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research on three themes: Dynamic Planet, Global Sustainable Development and Transformations towards Sustainability.

Global Water Challenge (GWC) is a coalition of 24 leading organizations creating a global movement of transformational change around water and sanitation. GWC focuses on collaborative learning, connecting leaders, and investing in sustainable, scalable and replicable projects. Their goal is universal access to clean water and safe sanitation.

Global Water Partnership (GWP): GWP fosters integrated water resource management (IWRM), and ensures the coordinated development and management of water, land, and related resources. GWP covers all African and South American nations, as well as Australia and most of Asia and Europe.

Global Water Policy/Sandra Postel aims to promote the preservation and sustainable use of Earth’s fresh water through research, writing, outreach, and public speaking. The Founder, Sandra Postel, is an author and a leading authority on international freshwater challenges and constructive solutions.

Food and Water Watch: This nonprofit advocates for common sense policies that will sustainable produce healthy, safe food and access to clean, affordable drinking water for all. With 15 US offices and staff in Latin America and Europe they work with a range of constituencies to inform and hold policymakers accountable.

Keepers of the Waters inspires and promotes projects that restore, preserve and remediate water sources using a combination of art, science, and community involvement.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): This scientific body, charged by the UN and World Meteorological Organization, reviews and assesses climate change via recent and relevant scientific, technical and socio-economic information.

International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC): ILEC advances global cooperation for lake conservation and promotes sound management of world lakes through encouraging investigations and research between environmental management and sustainable development, and scientific knowledge on lake environments internationally.

International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO): INBO helps organizations interested in global river basin management and sound water management.

International Rivers (IR): This organization works to protect rivers and the rights of their communities as it opposes destructive dams.

The International Society for River Science (ISRS) is a global society without political, national, or other social or cultural affiliations. ISRS fosters and develops scholarship in all disciplines contributing to knowledge and wise stewardship of rivers and streams as vital natural and managed ecosystems.

International Water Association (IWA): IWA is comprised of leading water professionals in science, research, technology and practice. It connects water professionals worldwide to lead the development of effective and sustainable approaches to water management.

International Water Management Institute (IWMI): Recognizing that one quarter of the world’s population lived in river basins where water is physically scarce and agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater usage, IWMI focuses on the finite amount of water on this earth, and works towards more “crop for the drop” and meeting the water demands of a growing global population.

International Water Resources Association (IWRA): IWRA facilitates networking on sustainable use of water resources, bridging the knowledge gap and joint learning with partners for improved, low-cost water supply, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries.

International Water and Sanitation Centre: Offers news, information, advice, research, and training on low-cost water supply and sanitation in developing countries.

IUCN: Please see World Conservation Union below.

Living Lakes: Living Lakes protects, restores and rehabilitates lakes, wetlands and other global freshwater bodies, collaborating with other projects benefiting lakes, wildlife, and people.

MARS (Managing Aquatic Ecosystems And Water Resources Under Multiple Stressors) is a collaborative European Union Seventh Framework project which aims to identify and understand how different stressors – for example pollution, water abstraction, and habitat fragmentation – impact freshwater environments, both now and in the future.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC): TNC has protected 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers, including 600 water sites in 30 countries.

The Netzkraft Movement is an online, global network of activists and organizations commited to shared ideals of peace, human rights, ecological sustainability, and decentralized political power. No Water No Life is listed in their Environmental Organizations category.

Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security: This nonprofit researches environment, sustainable development and international security. Its Water and Sustainability Program improves efficiency, ensures water access and protects the environment.

Rainforest Alliance: This NGO works to conserve tropical forests and their biodiversity while also ensuring sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. They have also used the power of consumers to have an impact on how forests are managed by creating sustainability certification seals.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR): RAMSAR provides the framework for conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Safe Water Network accelerates the development of innovative solutions that ensure access to sustainable and affordable sources of water. One example of their work is in Kenya’s Kibera slums where they are building water towers with purification systems.

The Society of Environmental Journalists: SEJ’s mission is to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues. SEJ’s membership includes more than 1,500 journalists, editors, educators and students working in print, broadcast and online news media throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and 27 other countries.

Society for Freshwater Science: SFS members study freshwater organisms; biotic communities; and physical processes that affect ecosystem function, linkages between freshwater ecosystems and surrounding landscapes, habitat and water quality assessment, conservation, and restoration.

Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI): SIWI promotes water awareness to stimulate global action and annually organizes World Water Week, a symposium that brings together experts, practitioners, decision makers and leaders from around the globe to exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions.

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance: In 2008, a number of sanitation organizations formed an open network on Sustainable Sanitation to support the International Year of Sanitation (IYS).

UN – REDD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation creates financial values for carbon stored in forests; offers incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands; and invests in low-carbon development.

UN – Water: UN Water’s work encompasses all aspects of freshwater, including surface and groundwater resources and the interface between fresh and seawater.

United Nations Development Programme: UNDP is a solution-oriented, knowledge-based development organization, helping countries reach their own development objectives, prevent crises, fight poverty, empower women and protect the environment. UNDP shares best practices, provides policy advice and links partners through pilot projects, helping establish capacity development, reducing poverty reduction and fostering resiliency in the face of climate change.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): UNEP provides leadership and encourages partnerships in addressing climate change, disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, harmful substances and resource efficiency.

UNEP – Dams and Development: The Dams and Development Project (DDP) is a time-bound project hosted by UNEP financed with contributions of donor countries.

Wash Advocates works to increase American support for worldwide access to sustainable supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation.

WaterAid is an international organization whose mission is to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Wetlands International: This is a global organization working in over 120 countries to sustain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity for future generations through research, information exchange and conservation activities.

WILD Foundation: WILD is an international organization working for wilderness, wildlife and people. Its main program areas are the World Wilderness Congress, wilderness policy and research, communications and field projects.

Wilson Center – Environmental Change and Security Program: This nonpartisan institution has studied national and world affairs since 1994 actively pursuing connections between environment, health, population, development, conflict, and security. Water is one of the three primary focus areas of ECSP, which states: “Changes in water availability pose fundamental challenges to health, development, and stability of communities and states. ECSP programs and publications focus on water’s potential to spur conflict and cooperation, its social and economic value, and its relationship to health and disease.” In February 2015, its award-winning blog focused on threats to Kenya’s Lake Turkana by Ethiopia’s new hydro-dams and intense water extraction by new sugar plantations. NWNL is working with International Rivers in raising global awareness of this issue. See Cascade of Development (2014 with photos by NWNL) and Come and Count Our Bones (2015).

Women for Water Partnership (WfWP), with its member organizations and partners, assists women in more than 130 countries to create healthier and more productive lives for their families and their communities. WfWP promotes women’s empowerment, and gender equality for women and girls, while helping local women’s groups address challenges related to water, sanitation and sustainable development.

World Bank – Water and Sanitation: This financial and technical assistance fights poverty and helps people help themselves and their environment. It shares knowledge, building capacity and partnerships with an advisory service and help desk.

World Bank – Water Resources Management: Giving nearly $16 billion in loans annually, the World Bank uses its resources, staff, and knowledge base to assist developing countries in the fight against poverty.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN): Known for its Red List of endangered species, the IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Created in 1958, IUCN continues to build on its strengths of 11,000 science experts, hundreds of conservation projects worldwide, and the influential actions of over 1200 member organizations. It is committed to conservation of the integrity and diversity of nature and ensuring that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. The IUCN Global Water Program works on sustainable solutions to preserve water resources.

World Health Organization (WHO) Water Sanitation and Health (WSH): WHO works on aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene where the health burden is high and knowledge is poor.

World Lakes: This organization’s mission is to work with people and organizations to protect and restore the health of lake ecosystems throughout the world.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP): HWRP applies hydrology to the needs for sustainable development of water and related resources, water-related disasters, and management at national and international levels.

World Water Council: World Water Council focuses on management of the world’s water resources and services in their World Water Forums, held every three years.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): WWF has a network of offices in over 40 countries working to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment.

Worldwatch Institute: Founded by Lester Russel Brown, a US environmental analyst, WWI Analyzes interdisciplinary environmental data from around the world, providing information on how to build a more sustainable, less consumptive society through research and outreach. Many environmentalists depend on the annual WWI State of the World Report.

[Updated April 22, 2016]