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A Closer Look at Aqueduct's Forthcoming Global Water Risk Maps

This story is part of the “Aqueduct Sneak Peek” series. Aqueduct Sneak Peek provides an early look at the Aqueduct team’s updated global water risk maps, which will be released in January 2013.

New reports and articles are increasingly pointing to water risk as one of the biggest issues associated with climate change, energy production, food security, and human health. In an effort to better understand how and where these water risks are emerging, WRI published the first-ever Aqueduct water risk map two years ago.

Today, the need for better information on where and how water can create risks for companies, investors, and communities is more apparent than ever. To address this need, the Aqueduct team has been working with our hydrological modeling partner, ISciences, on producing a brand new set of global maps of water risk.

We’ll make this new data available in January 2013. A few of the improvements and refinements that make these new Aqueduct global maps the best available picture of water risk around the world include: * More layers: The new global water risk mapping tool will feature and combine maps of 12 different indicators of water risk, ranging from physical water stress indicators to indicators of water quality, regulatory risk, and reputational risk.

  • More holistic: The new global maps will use Aqueduct's comprehensive water risk framework and aggregation techniques that were pilot-tested through our Aqueduct Basin Studies. Our tool allows users to create overall water risk maps that combine different risk indicators onto the same map.

  • Better techniques: The Aqueduct team and ISciences have implemented new hydrological modeling and geographic distribution techniques to create the most accurate water risk maps possible.

  • More up-to-date: Aqueduct's new global maps are based on the most recent publicly available global data on water use and water availability, and will be more up-to-date than our previous global maps by 10 years.

By bringing these and other improvements to water risk mapping at a global level, Aqueduct will provide its users with an unparalleled tool for measuring, mapping, and managing their exposure to the complexities of water risk in the 21st century.

Our entire team continues to put tremendous effort into making this valuable, new data available to the public in January 2013. Until then, I invite you to stay tuned to our blog and our Twitter feed (@WRIAqueduct), where we'll be releasing a few more in-depth previews of our new maps over the coming months.

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