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A Closer Look at Aqueduct's New Global Water Stress Maps

The World Resources Institute and the Coca-Cola Company recently announced a partnership that made industry-leading global water risk maps publicly available for the first time. Coca-Cola has donated maps and data that they developed to help them towards the goal of understanding and managing their exposure to water risks in their facilities around the world. Through Aqueduct’s online water risk mapping platform, this information has been made accessible to the public in an interactive, easy-to-use platform.

Aqueduct's new data from Coca-Cola takes the form of thirteen global maps that look at water stress, water reuse, and drought at a sub-basin level of geographic detail. This is a much more local perspective than existing water databases in the public domain, which tend to divide their maps at the country or basin level. The global maps now available on Aqueduct include:

  • Baseline water stress: This map shows what proportion of the annual renewable supply of water in an area is being withdrawn for human use. This baseline map uses data from the year 2000 to show what proportion of the annual renewable supply of water is being consumed in a given area.

  • Long term change in water stress: These maps project the changes in water stress in the future due to shifting climate, population, and economic development. These maps examine nine scenarios: three IPCC climate change scenarios (A1B, B1, and A2) and three time horizons for each climate change scenario (2025, 2050, and 2095).

  • Baseline water reuse: This map, based on data from the year 2000, shows what fraction of water in a waterway has been withdrawn and discharged as wastewater upstream. This map highlights the places around the world where adequate water treatment is especially critical to maintaining good water quality.

  • Socio-economic drought projections: These maps estimate the extent and severity of short (one year) and longer (three year) term socioeconomic drought conditions. Socioeconomic drought occurs when available freshwater supplies are not sufficient to support normal water use.

[flink_docs aqueduct/freshwater_sustainability_analyses.pdf More detailed information on the data and methodology used to generate all thirteen maps can be found here]

These maps will provide global context to the in-depth maps and analysis Aqueduct produces of individual economically important and water stressed river basins around the world. Combining global perspective with local detail makes Aqueduct a useful and applicable tool for a wide variety of audiences seeking to understand water risk. Additionally, the Aqueduct team is working with hydrological modeling partner ISciences to refresh and update these global maps in 2012.

In addition to putting a valuable asset into the public domain for the first time, Coca-Cola’s partnership with Aqueduct provides a clear and compelling example of a private sector entity recognizing the importance of collaborating with other companies, NGOs, and governments to work towards truly sustainable water resource management.

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