skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Safe Chemicals
Defending the Clean Air Act

Ed Osann, Senior Policy Analyst, Santa Monica

Ed Osann

I grew up in Northwest Indiana, with that region’s world-class environmental problems often taking over our family’s dinner table conversation. I enrolled at Georgetown BEFORE they had a nationally ranked basketball program, which permanently stunted my knowledge of sports. I drove a cab in DC for two years and started research and lobbying on environmental issues while in grad school at George Washington U. I married a Congressional staffer that I met on Capitol Hill, who shares two great sons with me and continues to teach me about the politics of life.

Prior to joining NRDC, I worked on water development projects and policy for the National Wildlife Federation, and served on the first board of the California Urban Water Conservation Council. I did a brief stint with the Clinton Administration as Policy Director for the Bureau of Reclamation and then left government to run a consulting practice on energy and water efficiency for 13 years.

In my off-hours, I’m a good gardener, a fair angler, and a mediocre (or worse) golfer. Hunting, tennis, and, water skiing are more memory than reality. But maybe next weekend I’ll get back into one of them.

Recent Posts

L.A. Mayor Calls for More Water Efficiency

Posted October 14, 2014 by Ed Osann in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , , ,

Kudos to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for proposing ambitious new water-saving goals for the city.  Hizzoner aims for dramatic reductions in water use over the next two years.  L.A. has already made impressive strides -- water use today is...continued

8 Questions for Every Water Utility after the UCLA Water Main Break

Posted August 14, 2014 by Ed Osann in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , , , , , ,

The water and mud from the big water main break that flooded the UCLA campus in Los Angeles in late July left behind several questions that could be asked of every water supplier in the country.  Find out for yourself how...continued

When Big Mains Break, Wasted Water is Only the Beginning

Posted July 30, 2014 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , , , , , , ,

Comments (4)

What are we to make of the incongruous images of tens of millions of gallons of water gushing skyward in Los Angeles this week in the midst of a statewide drought emergency?  And what lessons can be drawn from the...continued

State Officials Prod California Cities to Act on Drought

Posted July 15, 2014 by Ed Osann in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , ,

As California enters the hottest and driest season of the year, State officials are acting today to prod California’s cities and water suppliers to take drought conditions more seriously – and none too soon.  Emergency regulations drafted by the State...continued

Urban Water Conservation and Efficiency - Enormous Potential, Close to Home

Posted June 10, 2014 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , ,

This article was written jointly with Matthew Heberger, Research Associate with Pacific Institute's Water Program, and is cross-posted at Pacific Institute's website. As California continues to face severe drought conditions, a new report released today by NRDC and the Pacific Institute...continued

Our Web Poll results: Waiting for hot water is the real national pastime

Posted April 24, 2014 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , , , , , , , ,

Comments (10)

The crack of the bats during the first month of the new baseball season brings a bit of excitement to lots of us who enjoy what was once considered the “national pastime.”  But one activity – repeated more than 200...continued

Proposed Coin-Op Washer Efficiency Standard is Short on Change

Posted March 18, 2014 by Ed Osann in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , ,

Although most U.S. families wash their clothes at home, the laundry needs of about one out of five households are met by commercial washers in self-service laundromats and the laundry rooms of apartments and dorms.  And now, the government has...continued

Drought Rates Missing from Most Local Drought Plans in California

Posted February 24, 2014 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , , , ,

Comments (3)

Today they’re short of water.  Tomorrow they’ll be short of cash.  As water supplies dwindle in the face of the driest year in California’s history, most of the state’s urban water utilities face 2014 financially flatfooted.         CalTrans Highway Sign...continued

Water Main Leaks Don't Let Up, Even During A Drought

Posted February 15, 2014 by Ed Osann

, , , , , , , ,

Comments (1)

We've all seen the big water main breaks on the evening news or on YouTube.  But only a small number of water main breaks actually make the news.  And all the main breaks put together are only a fraction of...continued

Waiting for Hot Water

Posted January 22, 2014 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , , , , , , ,

Comments (2)

We all do it, nearly every day.  We turn on the shower and wait.  And wait.  Maybe we brush our teeth while waiting, or go start the coffee, or take clothes out of the closet, or fold some laundry.  20...continued

To Fix a Leak, You Have to Know It's There

Posted March 12, 2013 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , , , ,

March 18 to 24 was Fix a Leak Week, a commendable effort by the US EPA’s WaterSense program to draw the attention of consumers and water suppliers to the simple steps that we can take to save water and money...continued

New Water Rates that Help Consumers Save

Posted November 8, 2012 by Ed Osann in Living Sustainably

, , , , , , , ,

Comments (3)

There are lots of reasons why California and states throughout the West need to start using water more efficiently, and do so quickly.  Climate change will cause water supplies to be more variable, and warmer temperatures will drive up the...continued

Cleaner and Greener Laundry is On the Way

Posted September 27, 2012 by Ed Osann in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

, ,

This week, a final rule setting new efficiency standards for residential clothes washers was approved, finally.  It’s been a long time coming, but these new water and energy efficiency requirements adopted by the Department of Energy will save US consumers...continued

Greener Washdays Ahead

Posted May 16, 2012 by Ed Osann in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , ,

In the years ahead, new clothes washers and dishwashers sold throughout the US will be dramatically more energy- and water-efficient, and that’s great news for consumers.  Today’s announcement of new efficiency standards by the Department of Energy (see here for...continued

Breakthrough on Measuring Farm Water Use Bodes Well for New Water Savings in California

Posted May 10, 2012 by Ed Osann in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

, , , , , , ,

Comments (9)

This week, a critical milestone that can eventually save a significant amount of water was passed when the California Water Commission gave its unanimous approval to a rule proposed by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) that requires large irrigation...continued


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Ed Osann’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In