Mapping water risk, now and in the future.

More than 40% of the world’s population is affected by water scarcity, and that number is set to rise as the impacts of the climate crisis worsen. Our need for water is fundamental: we drink it, clean with it, water crops with it, and use it in the production of almost everything we use. Without it, we’d be in dire trouble. And yet, cities like Cape Town in South Africa and Sao Paulo in Brazil have already come close to running out of this most precious commodity.

To prevent a humanitarian crisis, companies, investors, governments, and other users need to understand where water risks are most severe and what causes them. That’s why we worked with the World Resources Institute to develop the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas—which maps water risk across the globe—and a Country Ranking tool that ranks countries by their water stress. Providing a close-up view of water threats and opportunities around the world, Aqueduct can be used to guide decision-making on where and when action is needed.

The Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas was used by The Washington Post to map and report on water stress across the USA. At The New York Times , journalists used Aqueduct data to investigate the impact of climate disruption in India, where droughts and floods are affecting millions of people.

Custom built microservice.

The Water Risk Atlas brings together a range of indicators that are combined to calculate water risk. To deliver data in the fastest, most accurate way, we custom built a microservice that allows the user to select or upload points of interest and receive back the relevant information from the risk model developed by WRI. The service is built on top of CARTO, the Resource Watch API and Google’s Geocoder.

Water data challenges.

Accurately assessing the state of water resources across administrative boundaries is a challenge. Water from one river can supply multiple countries, while much of our planet’s freshwater lies beneath the ground making it impossible to monitor with satellite imagery or other remote sensing tools. WRI uses a range of indicators to calculate a baseline water stress score for each country, and the regions within it, which can be used for water management planning.

Fast water facts.

Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population.

2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services.

3 in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.

Next project.

Vital Signs Kenya.

Conservation International.