The Center for Environmental Journalism’s newest initiative is “The Water Desk,” an independent news organization dedicated to increasing the volume, depth and power of journalism connected to Western water issues.

Our focus is the Colorado River Basin, the water source for some 40 million people living in seven U.S. states and Mexico. Climate change, population growth and other forces are posing unprecedented challenges for managing water in a region stretching from Colorado’s Front Range to Southern California’s coast, and from the snow-capped peaks of Wyoming to the deserts of Northwest Mexico.

The Water Desk will work with journalists and media outlets to strengthen their water-related coverage and expand its influence. It will also produce its own content, help train the next generation of water journalists, engage with the community to inform water reporting and pursue innovative approaches to 21st-century storytelling.

An animation of Landsat satellite imagery shows the impact of drought in the Colorado River Basin. The first image shows Lake Mead in 1984, with Las Vegas to the left. In the second image, from 2016, the lake has shriveled while the city has sprawled. Although Las Vegas has conserved, the animation illustrates the challenge of managing water resources in a drying river basin. (Images: NASA Earth Observatory. Animation: The Water Desk)