Nature Conservancy Senior Freshwater Scientist Jeff Opperman answered your questions about water during a live video chat. Submit your questions in the comments section below, or on Twitter using the hashtag #NatureChat, and watch to see if yours is selected.

You can watch a replay of the chat in the box below:

Watch live streaming video from thenatureconservancy at

Looking for some freshwater inspiration? Follow Jeff on Twitter, @jjopperman and read his thought-provoking blog posts on our planet’s water and a feature about recent flooding and drought events.

(Image: Jeff Opperman. Source: Amy Deputy.)

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  1. Hey Jeff, Why has the recent flooding in Australia been so severe?

  2. With New England & much of the rest of the country blanketed in snow and ice, road crews and homeowners are spreading huge amounts of de-icing agents on our roads and driveways. If spring melts come quickly this could mean a huge influx of salts and chemicals into our streams. Are you concerned? Would you suggest more water quality monitoring?

  3. Why is there not more being done to stop the new mercury bulbs
    they will poison the water in a very short time.

  4. Hey Jeff, how about addressing the Natural Gas Industry’s hydraulic fracturing process ? The greatest single threat to US freshwater aquifers. Is it worth it in over a dozen states ?

  5. I will sit in the dark before i use one of the new mercury bulbs,why isnt more being done too stop the use of them.

  6. Why is it that educated people in positions of power have difficulty in understanding that if you save water you save energy, then the ripple effect starts. Enviro eco system etc.

    Thanking you,

    Jim Hillier

  7. Does the lead that is shot across much of our water catchment moorland get into our water supply, would it be noticed if it began to happen?

  8. Have you had a read of this thought provoking book
    When the Rivers Run
    Dry by Fred Pearce

  9. Hi Jeff, can you please tell us how you got the nickname “Jammie Jeff”?

  10. So anyway, I live in western MN and 90% of the state wetlands have been drained to make way for farm land. Also, are lakes are foamy and green do to fertilizer run-off. The sad thing is, farms arent small, they are large corporations. The area is impoverished. I’m an avid duck hunter and really all sorts of hunter, but I hate seeing not only water, but all sorts of the environment get ravaged. It makes me angry. We have to respect the land, respect the earth and respect each other.
    I dont hunt for the kill. I hunt because I love the Earth.

  11. Jeff – are there any general indicators or simple things someone can do to assess the health of their own streams or ponds?

    Also, what magnitude of effect have dam projects had on freshwater ecosystems? And are they worth it?

  12. what will happen to our drinking water when/if fracking continues? What can we do to protect our water table and how hard will it be to fight the natural gas lobby?
    where is the water lobby?

  13. I am really concerned about the level of Dioxins in drinking water. What filtering method besides reverse osmosis(which wastes 3 gallons to produce 1 gallon of water) is the best for our families drinking water?

  14. What would you recommend to students who are interested in dedicating their career to this field? Are there any colleges with particularly strong programs?

  15. Why am I never referred to as a “handsome freshwater scientist” (as per the Facebook post of 2/8? Hell, I’d take “comely biogeochemist”. Oh yeah, my employers would probably be crossing that sexual harassment line.
    But seriously, what is your role in the Nature Conservancy with respect to your field? Is it primarily educational, or do you get some opportunities for research?

  16. Jeff, Nestle’s intends to pump 1,600,000 gallons a day from the Wacissa River in Madison County Florida. The Wacissa River is a spring fed river, so the water level is constant and does not flucuate like rain fed rivers.

    Will a reduction in water from Nestles pump have a more significant negative impact on the ecosystem of the Wacissa River because the Wacissa ecosystem has not adapted to fluctuations in water level?

    John Donaldson
    Tallahassee, FL

  17. With more and more people purchasing bottle watered every day out of convenience, or possibly thinking they are purchasing pure clean water, and in turn they are contributing more every day to the pollution that occurs in our landfills and the energy occupied to support this multi- billionaire bottled water business. It’s a vicious cycle. I am going to school currently for nutrition and one of the things I read was regulations on bottled water aren’t nearly as good as they are on our city tap water. As we know some cities have a fresher water supply and less toxins, prescriptions, and other contaminants get into the water supply daily. I was astonished at how many contaminants are approved and allowed in our city drinking water as well. Do you know who makes and how these decisions are made to allow a certain % of contaminants into our water supply? What would you say to someone who purchases bottle water weekly? What I am specifically looking for is something that will astonish this person and make them realize the impact they are making on our environment by contributing to this multi-billionaire business. In most cost cases I would assume they would come back with well our city water supply isn’t clean so I buy bottled. With all this being said, what home filtration systems would you recommend from the most affordable to the best out there?

    How can the typical person help keep their water supply clean?

  18. why is it acceptable for the Texas state department of wildlife to use our tax dollars to stock hybrid and non native highly inappropriate fish like trout in our local waterways at the expense of our endangered natives like the Guadalupe bass? shouldn’t a state protect it’s endangered/threatened species by law? why do the (hybrid bass) fishing lobbyists have so much influence and power when it comes to influencing the scientists hired by the state supposedly to protect our native fish?

  19. As a manager of lots of land and some water resources, I am looking at purchasing water rights as an investment. It is obvious that as water becomes more scarce it will become more and more valuable. How valuable do you foresee water becoming in a long term plan of perhaps 50 years in states such as Colorado? More valuable than oil?

  20. What is your recommended filtering system of river water for drinking?

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