We are only a few days away from the world’s largest meeting around water: the World Water Forum. The Forum will take place this month in Marseille, France, with some 24,000 participants from the private and public sectors around the globe. There will be roughly 250 sessions and panels and 100 grassroots and citizenship events over six days. These events, and the audience of decision makers and experts attending them, provide an ideal context to showcase pioneering developments and solutions around water. WRI will be there to present exciting updates and improvements to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, an interactive online tool for measuring and mapping the key drivers of water related risks.
The Aqueduct Water Risk Framework (originally developed in 2010) has been streamlined, simplifying the list of indicators and significantly improving the risk score calculations and mapping techniques. As a result the Aqueduct Water Risk maps provide much clearer measures of water risk to businesses, speaking to a wider range of users to facilitate risk analysis and disclosure. Aqueduct’s website has more details on how the tool works, as well as an in-depth summary methodology document describing the process in greater detail.
WRI has drawn from the best available local data on water supply, use, and quality to apply the new and improved Water Risk Framework to a number of important river basins worldwide. These basins include the Orange-Senqu River Basin in Southern Africa, the Murray-Darling River Basin in Australia, the Colorado River Basin in the western United States, and the Yellow River Basin in China. We have completed research and mapping and are now circulating the preliminary results to basin and subject-matter experts for their review. These maps provide quantitative measures that can show water-intensive companies, solution providers, investors and governments where physical, regulatory and reputational water risks may emerge.
We have also updated the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas User Interface, available now online, since we launched the global maps of current and projected water stress last year at the 2011 Stockholm World Water Week. The new interface, which we will formally launch at the Forum, includes basin-specific water risk maps of the Orange-Senqu and Yellow River Basins, as well as a wide set of GIS-based features. These features, designed to help the user easily conduct global or sub-basin scale water risk analysis, include:
An indicator weighting panel for adjusting and customizing the weights of each of the 14 water risk indicators.
A location analyzer that lets users plot their facilities, suppliers, or other points of interest and study their water risk levels
Risk score and map export options that make it easy to extract and share the data underlying Aqueduct’s maps for further analysis
Information on WRI’s Aqueduct project will be presented at the Library Pavilion of the Village of Solutions in Marseille, where we will host interactive sessions to demonstrate the maps, tools and applications. Additionally, members of the Aqueduct team will participate in panel discussions focusing on two of the Forum’s “Priorities for Action:” Priority for Action 3.2., “Adjust Pressures and Footprints of Human Activities on Water" coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme, and Priority for Action 3.3., "Respond to Climate and Global Changes in an Urbanized World", coordinated by the Cooperative Programme on Water and Climate.
For those attending the Forum, please stop by the Library Pavilion at the Village of Solutions to learn more about the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas and how it can contribute to more informed decision-making around water and drive private and public sector investments towards sustainable water resources management. To follow our progress and the Forum from afar, follow @WRIAqueduct on Twitter.