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This piece was coauthored by: Joe Rozza, P.E., BCEE, Global Water Resource Sustainability Manager, The Coca-Cola Company; Greg Koch, Managing Director, Global Water Stewardship, The Coca-Cola Company; Jonathan Boright, Research Scientist, ISciences LLC; Nicole Grohoski, Research Analyst, ISciences LLC

The Aqueduct project is an effort to measure and map water related risks being developed by the World Resources Institute with the support of an alliance founded by General Electric and Goldman Sachs. As part of this effort, the Aqueduct team convened its hydrological modeling partner ISciences and experts from The Coca-Cola Company to develop and analyze a set of maps for the Bonn2011 Nexus conference that illustrate the complex relationships between water, food, and energy worldwide (see below).

Why focus on the water-food-energy nexus? Like water, food and energy are basic necessities of life that help support robust economies and stable political systems. Agriculture and power generation, moreover, account for the majority of water withdrawals in most developed countries.

Today, WRI releases a new map that identifies the hotspots where urban and suburban development are putting forests at risk in the southern United States. Areas experiencing the most forest loss to development between 2001 and 2006 (the most recent years for which data are available) were counties near Houston, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Charlotte. Counties around San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Birmingham round out the “top ten” (Table 1).

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.

This piece, co-authored by WRI's Kirsty Jenkinson and Coca-Cola's Joe Rozza, originally appeared on The Guardian Sustainable Business Blog.

Water, or the lack of it, is never far from the headlines. While Hurricane Irene dumped torrential rain on a huge area of the eastern US seaboard and caused record flooding, prolonged droughts have afflicted the plains of Texas, the Horn of Africa and the Yangtze River.

These water-related disasters are not only devastating for people and nature. They pose major risks to businesses and economies worldwide.

Two weeks ago, WRI and Kenyan partners Upande Ltd., Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Jacaranda Designs Ltd., and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) launched Virtual Kenya, an interactive website designed to improve Kenyans’ access to spatial information and cutting-edge mapping technologies. At the launch event, two Kenyan government officials committed to support the project and contribute data, all in the name of increasing access to information and improving education, environmental management, and development planning in the country.


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