The 'Drought Doctor'

James G. Workman


245 Downey Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

+1 415 728 3494




Yale and Oxford graduate; award-winning journalist; recruited to U.S. Cabinet-level aide; essayist on water scarcity, conservation & global warming; strategic planner who has focused teams at the national and international level of conservation, communications and policymaking; in Africa and Asia tested durability of water and energy resources use, impacts, adaptation and development in a changing climate; author, Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought.


Educational Background


1990 Bachelor of Arts in History graduate cum laude, Yale and Oxford Universities.

1990 Journalism fellow, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, FL

2002-2004 Writing fellow for Institute of Current World Affairs, Dartmouth, NH

2005 Free-market environmental fellow, Kinship Conservation Institute, Bozeman, MT


Professional Work Experience

Founder, Confluence                                                                    2000-Present  

Speaking & Writing Communications Consultancy. Clients include:


IUCN – The World Conservation Union                                            Gland, Switzerland

Combine pragmatic water governance experience from 30 countries into global synthesis.

Write annual reports conveying interdisciplinary work of world’s largest green network.

Integrate water & climate experience in 3rd & 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress.   

Prepare annual synopsis of outcomes for energy, water, biodiversity, climate change.


Natural Heritage Institute                                                         San Francisco, California

Develop projects on how federal, state and municipal governments and utilities can adapt water and energy infrastructure operations to climate change in the US, Africa and China to meet growing demand, shrinking supply, and minimize the resulting resource scarcity.


USAID-Nexant                                                                          Bangalore & Delhi, India

Develop strategy to break cycle of climate-exacerbated power & groundwater depletion. Advance South Asian regional model to reverse destructive energy-groundwater nexus.


World Economic Forum                                                              Davos; Amman; Maputo

Produce précis on current debates over global water, energy, resources, climate change.


WWF/European Union Project FireFight                                            Java, Bali, Sulawesi

Develop & implement an integrated strategy against the chronic devastating rainforest burning, driven by market forces and by climate change causes, consequences.


World Bank, World Commission on Dams                   Cape Town, South Africa

Prepare, edit, position, market & launch unprecedented global synthesis project to establish new approach for developing water and energy resources in a changing climate.

Direct strategic outreach consensus product through international outlets, channels.

Prepare, deliver tactical speeches, presentations, interviews to diverse interests.


Institute of Current World Affairs                                         2002-2004

African Correspondent

Ø      Conducted independent critique of water sharing in underdeveloped arid regions.

Ø      Dispatched 24 monthly essays w/photos for strategic policy options (titles below).

Ø      Profiled urban utilities, irrigators, society and nations confronting climate change.

Ø      Filed datelines from Namib, Kalahari, Sahara and Negev deserts; Cape to Cairo.


U.S. Department of the Interior                                          1994-2000           


Policy Strategist: National Restoration Initiatives:                           

Counter US impacts of radical climate flux on natural resource conservation & economy.

Shape dam removal/re-licensing policy as mitigation in altered hydrology regimes.

Guide wildland fire management policy on burns despite and in preparation for warming.

Advance adaptation and mitigation policies against menace of man-made disturbances.

Develop reintroduction & de-listing policy for aquatic endangered species.


Chief Speech Writer/Editor to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt                   

Research, draft, write, place speeches, essays, op-eds, letters, chapters and statements.

Elucidate strong, comprehensive, nuanced arguments to conserve – rare plant, animal species; shared rivers; wetlands; wilderness; fisheries economies – in changing climate.


The Washington Business Journal                                       1992- 1994          

AP Prize-winning reporter, leader of investigative teams                

Created new beats on impact of water, air, climate change, safety and health policies.

Wrote on conservation-driven rise & fall of “Disney’s America” theme park in Virginia. Tracked growth, failures, initial public offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and oversight measures through the US Securities and Exchanges Commission.


Roll Call Newspaper & The New Republic Magazine         1990-1992


Researched & wrote policy and politics articles, editorials on foreign and domestic issues.

International Public Speaker & Academic Lecturer         (2003-2008)


  • Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • “John Muir meets Michael Milken: Free market options in an age of scarcity.”
  • University of Cape Town, Department of Global Economics
  • “Climate Flux and Water Scarcity: Preparing in advance for a changing world.”
  • United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
  • “Confluence of Science & Markets: Policy options to counter altered landscapes.”
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
  • “Water, Scarcity and the limits of the State: Adaptive governance to climate flux.”
  • Property and Environment Research Center
  • “Cap & Trade Unlimited: Applying lessons from climate change responses.”
  • Cosmos Club, Washington DC
  • “The Coming Hydrocracy: Adapting to future scarcity in a changing climate.”
  • ICWA in San Francisco, CA
  • “Water, California& Scarcity: Regional Impacts of Global Warming”
  • University of Botswana/Sothern African Development Community
  • “Climate change impacts on the trans-national Okavango River Basin”


Book Author and Editor

Author: Heart of Dryness, WalkerBooks/Bloomsbury forthcoming August 2009

Co-author, Billions on the Brink: The rule of water in the world’s weakest states. IUCN

Editor: Mountain of the Gods: Tsodilo Hills through the Ages, MSU Press


Award Winning Freelance Writer                                         1990-Present


World View Magazine           [Touch of Grey; The Water Carriers (cover stories)]

The New Republic                 [Ad Nauseum; State Department Quotas; AIDS (cover)]

Foreign Service Magazine    [The Gender Benders (cover story)]

Africa Geographic                  [African Zion, August 2003 (award: people & landscape)]

PERC Reports                       [Deadbeat Dams (cover)]

Sustainable Development      [Climate, Energy & Water in the 21st Century]

Washington Monthly, Utne Reader [Marcus Welby, P.A. (cover)]

Business Day                                     [Watershed Realignment against Climate Change]

Civil Engineering                   [Dams & Development: A framework for decision making.]

Bioscience                              [What goes up, may come down]

Orion                                       [Dress for Success]

Peolwane Magazine               [Elephant and Water; On the Waterfront (cover stories)]

Union Magazine                     [The Trials & Triumph of Ana Amaya (cover story)]

Escape                                    [Archives: Alfred Wallace & John Wesley Powell]

Washington Times                 [Fractured Skull, Scattered Bones]

Harper’s                                 [Kudzu, Kudzu, Kill, Kill, Kill! (A call to arms)]

Boston Herald                        [Highbrow Hypocrisy]

[Ghosted under other names  [Bruce Babbitt, Nelson Mandela etc.] work appeared in Washington Post, New York Times, International Herald-Tribune; Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, Sierra, Wilderness, Audubon, National Heritage, Oregonian among others.]

African Dispatches for Institute of Current World Affairs

Monthly reports, titles in order of ICWA publication, Jan 2002-Jan 2005:


  1. Water Meter Wars: ‘Privatization, Protests and Renegade Plumbers.’
  2. Knifing Opportunists: ‘The vacuum along Africa’s first regulated river.’
  3. Smuggling to the San: ‘Water as a weapon in the Central Kalahari.’
  4. Rules of the Game: ‘Rifles, rhinos and access to water.’
  5. Women’s Quest: ‘Long day’s journey into clouds.’
  6. Line in the Sand: ‘Digging in during the dry season.’
  7. African Zion: ‘Homeward bound, away from government and toward resources.’
  8. Potty (Re) Training: ‘Climate, scarcity changes how Africa pees and poops.’
  9. Cutting Edge: ‘Combating the invasion of the water snatchers.’
  10. The Highlanders: ‘Manmade quakes & giant snakes; Africa’s beautiful and the dammed.’
  11. Of Dams & Disease: ‘Triage in an H2O-Negative, HIV-Positive Landscape.’
  12. Shattered Nilometers: ‘After 5,200 years of top-down rule, can scarcity re-democratize Egypt?’
  13. Grapes of Mirth: ‘Fresh Water Becomes Leverage in Race-Based Farm Reform.’
  14. Aquae Incognita: ‘Drawing A Line’ in the Water Breeds African Border Disputes
  15. To Drink a Mirage: The foggiest idea; elusive extraction of water from wind.
  16. Silent Sentinels: ‘Landmines Convert Resources from Combat Catalyst to Civilian Use.’
  17. Pliocene Park: ‘Water Sources Shrink. Elephant Numbers Expand. Uh, Oh.’
  18. Holy Fire, Sacred Water: ‘Namibia’s Himba Caught Between Dam & Dry Place
  19. Kalahari Earthsuckers: San sip-wells vs. roughneck rigs; seducing water from the ground.’
  20. The Gamey Taste of Virtual Water: ‘Recurring Drought Turns Cattle into Kudu’
  21. Bread Basket to Begging Bowl: Dry Zimbabwe’s‘Slow-Track’ Water Derails Mugabe’s ‘Fast-Track’ Land Reform
  22. Upstream vs. Downstream: ‘The Benign Dictatorship of the Mozambican Shrimp’
  23. Apartheid’s Legacy vs. Gravity’s Force: ‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’
  24. The Coming Hydrocracy: ‘Arid Africa as the Water Runs Out’

Reference Names and Contact Details


Bruce Babbitt

Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton

Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund

5169 Watson Street, NW

Washington, DC 20016

+1 202 363-1542



Achim Steiner

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme

UNEP Office Headquarters,

Nairobi, Kenya

+254 20 762 3084



Dr. Mark Smith

Director, Water Programme, World Conservation Union

IUCN Headquarters Building

Rue Mauverney 28 1196 Gland, Switzerland

+41 22 999 0292



Dr. Ger Bergkamp

Director-General, World Water Council

2-4 place d’Arvieux

Espace Gaymard

13002 Marseille - France

Tel: +33 (0)4 91 99 41 00


Dr. Michael Dombeck

Former Chief of U.S. Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management

750 Granite Ridge Road W.
Stevens Point, WI 54481

home # 715-344-4022

mobile # 608-852-5636


Steve Butler & Peter Bird Martin

Executive directors

Institute of Current World Affairs
4545 42nd St. NW, Ste. 311
Washington, DC 20016

Phone: (202) 364-4068