by Erin Gray and Arjuna Srinidhi - December 19, 2013
India struggles with water scarcity, a problem that poses especially huge implications for the country’s food security and rural livelihoods. The country has long-battled its scarcity issues through Watershed Development, a participatory approach to improve water management through afforestation and reforestation, sustainable land management, soil and water conservation, water-harvesting infrastructure, and social interventions. But while watershed development has been employed in communities throughout India, its potential long-term costs and benefits have not been well-understood or studied--until now.
A new working paper from WRI and WOTR finds that watershed development has provided more than $9 million dollars’ worth of food security and water management benefits to the water-stressed community, Kumbharwadi.
Watershed development, an ecosystem-based approach for development of rain-fed regions in India, is gaining traction and political support, but how is it contributing to poverty reduction, food security, and climate change adaptation? This paper examines how economic valuation can improve our...
WRI’s Aqueduct project recently evaluated, mapped, and scored water risks like these in 100 river basins, ranked by area and population, and 180 nations—the first such country-level water assessment of its kind. We found that 36 countries face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress (see list at bottom). This means that more than 80 percent of the water available to agricultural, domestic, and industrial users is withdrawn annually—leaving businesses, farms, and communities vulnerable to scarcity.
This dataset shows countries and river basins' average exposure to five of Aqueduct's water risk indicators: baseline water stress, interannual variability, seasonal variability, flood occurence, and drought severity.
A Weighted Aggregation of Spatially Distinct Hydrological Indicators
More and more countries around the world face high levels of water stress, but measuring and communicating that stress consistently is challenging. This paper ranks countries and river basins worldwide based on their exposure water-related risks. Specifically, it provides national and basin-...
This map shows countries and river basins' average exposure to five of Aqueduct's water risk indicators: baseline water stress, interannual variability, seasonal variability, flood occurence, and drought severity.
Three major financial institutions and two of the world’s largest food and beverage companies are driving improved water management using data from Aqueduct’s Water Risk Atlas. This list includes: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer; Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company; LGIM, one of Europe’s largest institutional asset managers; one of the world’s largest banks; and one of the world’s largest pension fund managers.
Water risks—such as floods, drought, and increased competition for scarce water resources—are increasingly chipping into corporate bottom lines. The financial sector is taking notice, as companies and investors seek robust and comprehensive data to inform their decision-making processes. Previously, water risk had not been widely incorporated into financial risk assessments or business strategies, primarily because of a lack of awareness of business vulnerability to water risks, poor data, and uncertainty on how to use what information was available.
In January 2013, WRI launched the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a comprehensive water risk mapping tool that highlights water risk hotspots for a company’s direct operations and supply chains. Using a scientific approach, the tool is transparent, robust, and is translated into a set of easy-to-use water risk indicators and maps. Within six months from launch, the uptake of Aqueduct’s data by investors and companies has steadily increased, as has use by governments, academic, and civil society groups.
Some of the world’s biggest global companies, funds, and investors are driving improved local water management, thanks Aqueduct’s information. Investors like LGIM are increasingly using Aqueduct water risk data to inform investment decisions, and multinational industry leaders like Nestlé and AB InBev are adopting Aqueduct’s Water Risk Atlas as a critical component of their corporate water strategies. The popularity of the Aqueduct tool provides strong evidence that:
The investment community’s water-related risk awareness is growing;
Investors can become key drivers for improved corporate water management worldwide; and
Major multinational companies are incorporating water into business strategies to drive action on the ground and reduce shared water risks in watersheds.
Energy and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, supported by data and analysis from WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, surveyed water risks among the world’s top energy-producing regions. They found that three energy sectors face particularly high water risks: shale gas in the United States, coal production and coal-fired power in China, and crude oil in the Middle East.
This analysis highlights the tension between water availability and agricultural production. Finding a balance between these two critical resources will be essential—especially as the global population expands.
This data set shows the percentage of total crop production in areas facing different levels water stress. Crop production data is overlaid on Aqueduct's baseline water stress indicator, a measure of demand and supply for water in a given area.