Multimedia license

These licensing terms relate to our photo, video, and information graphics collections, which are offered free of charge to journalists, news organizations and non-profit organizations for editorial use.

Copyright and image licensing

Copyright is always retained by the creator(s) and distributed via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license designed to protect the rights of all concerned, including the licensee. If you have any doubt about the legality of your use, please contact us at to request further information.

Usage rights

When an image is licensed from The Water Desk, the usage is specified in the Creative Commons license and cannot be used for any other purpose without further agreement by The Water Desk. The license is for editorial and non-profit use only. No commercial or re-sale use allowed without the consent of the creator(s).

Usage fee

All use must be in an editorial context. Usage is free, but donations to The Water Desk are requested from organizations and media outlets that are able to contribute. The suggested use fee would be in keeping with the licensee’s standard photography use rate. The Water Desk is sensitive to the survival of the freelance photography market and does not intend to undercut this market. Contributions can be made on this page and all donations will be used to support photojournalists covering water issues.

Image manipulation

Photographs must not be altered or manipulated in any way. However, cropping and overlaying text or annotation for editorial purposes, for example, are allowable.


All images must be used with or in the spirit of the accompanying caption. If there is any doubt, then verification should be sought before publication.

Credit lines

All images are released for editorial and non-profit use only. The photographer must be credited with any reproduction of their work.

Drone and terrestrial images
The credit line should read “© photographer’s name/The Water Desk” unless specified otherwise.

Aerial images
As noted in the collection, aerial images should also include this credit: “with aerial support provided by LightHawk.”

After publishing

  • Please notify The Water Desk by emailing
  • Provide a link to the page featuring the licensed image(s), or a description of the use if in print
  • Verification of image use is critical for The Water Desk to continue to offer photographs free of charge and help us raise additional funds to support photojournalists and water journalism.