Organizing via Watersheds

Water connects us all… Water remembers… Water flows through our lands… Water is vital for life… Water gets prayed to and polluted… Water listens… Water flows downstream, creating watersheds of connected waters…


Wouldn’t it be more natural that we would organize ourselves according to our watersheds?

What we do with the waters where we live has an impact on the environment, animals and people down stream…

Therefore we are naturally connected to them via our common watershed. Being aware of this could create more natural caring for our waters and more bonding to people in our water shed.

There are different scales of watersheds.

Little streams running from farm to farm for example, making farmers dependent on eachother via their water run off. The quality of the water that runs off their land should be equal or preferably even better than that comes into their land. This is usually not the case due to the different products used in agriculture. Understanding the dependance and brotherhood amongst farmers based on their watershed, could make a big difference.

Small streams, becoming rivers and rivers joining into larger rivers within countries.

Large rivers running across countries from the mountains to the seas…

And in the end we are all connected via the seas… and of course via the natural water cycle and the air we breathe… there are no boundaries…

Do we enjoy vacations by the sea because we feel connected and one?

Do we enjoy time in the mountains because we are close to pristine and peaceful water and can have some rest and time alone?

What I always found interesting is that for Dutch people it is quite normal to understand and learn different languages. We learn German, French and English in school and have not so much trouble learning other languages either. Since studying water, I believe this has to do with the fact that our country is the estuary of quite some major rivers, coming from Switzerland, Germany and France. It makes us perhaps more ‘multinational’, ‘open’, etc. The water that we drink has ‘seen a lot’ on her route to our country…

So… a vision that keeps returning is us being organized and connect via our common watersheds, from smaller scales to larger scales on organic levels, instead of municipalities, provinces and countries, etc.

Where is this already happening? Who has already organized like this? What are your visions and dreams? Please discuss further in the Open Forum.

We also have the Watershed Communities & Stewardship group dedicated to exploring and sharing ideas and resources related to protecting and restoring our Watersheds at the local level and building vibrant, resilient and effective communities that can amplify and implement the World Water Law.

I love the maps that Robert Szucs, Founder of Grasshopper Geography, has created. One of them is included in this post.


  1. This makes perfect sense to me. This is at the very heart of the Watershed Wisdom Councils Concept.

    I have been thinking a lot about how to best structure the WWCC social network system …
    I believe it is best to start with as deep and wide and broad of Waterbodies as possible:

    This way as the Water Stewards sign-on, they can be added organically to an already existing network. This would allow replicable and scalable.

    1. One Ocean; (The Oceanic Parliament is the representative organizing body)
    2. There are 5 “named” ocean regions: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and. Southern;
    3 These would logically be categorized into east & west sides longitudinally (possibly excluding the Arctic and Antarctica);
    4. Then the divisions are distinguished further following the predominant currents and climate zones as generated along the latitudes north and south of the equator;
    5. the central tropical band north and south between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.
    6. Any seas and gulfs
    7. Reefs and other vital oceanic regions
    8. The distributary Deltas
    9. Main Affluent Tributaries
    10. Confluent Branches and Streams
    11. Influent Creeks and Springs

    1. For example my Watershed River Basin of the Sacramento River in Northern California:
      OCEAN: Pacific East / North; CURRENT: California
      BAY/DELTA: San Francisco, Sacramento
      RIVER DRAINAGES: Sacramento. Feather, Yuba, South Fork, Squirrel Creek

      (Other relevant zones)
      Pacific East / North Central,
      Pacific East / South,
      Pacific East / South Central

      North Pacific Current

      Mexico: Baja, Colorado, Sea of Cortez
      California: Los Angeles, Sacramento, Russian, Eel, Mad, Humbolt, Klamath, Smith,
      Oregon: Chetco, Pistol, Rogue, Coquille, Umpqua, Siuslaw, Alsea, Siletz, Tillamook, Columbia
      Washington: Columbia

    2. Wonderful @Eliza_Herald ! Let’s start exploring with your suggestions! We can flexibly design the group structure along these lines. Parent groups and sub groups can be added/removed/updated. So we can play.

      When all members add their location to their profile, they are visible on the member map, this makes it easy for them to find each other and we can point them to join the specific groups.

      I do think your point 8 (the distributary Deltas) is probably more closer to home for people than understanding which oceanic currents they belong to.

      So… Point 3 and 4 require a good map for people to educate themselves. Do you already have one in mind? We can add it under Resources or another place that is suitable.

      I will create a group type ‘watershed’, so that we can find all the groups in this watershed network easily in the group overview!

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