A region is water secure when it has sufficient, clean and affordable water for livelihoods, public health and industry. Water crises threaten these critical functions and put people at risk: More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025. Water-related risks are linked to conflict, instability, migration and food insecurity, making water crises an urgent challenge that demands immediate action.

WRI works to improve water security with data-driven solutions. Data is fundamental to understanding how water shortages translate into social consequences, where water-related risks are highest, what drives these risks and which solutions exist. This information and capacity to act enable policymakers at all levels to build sustainable water resource management.

WRI’s Aqueduct tools, the Water, Peace and Security Partnership (WPS) and other partners work to identify water risk and offer potential solutions to water-related conflicts. Our Aqueduct tools map water risks such as floods, droughts and stress using open-source, peer-reviewed data. The latest iteration of Aqueduct, Aqueduct 3.0, represents our most robust look at water risks to date.

Our other Aqueduct tools include:

  • Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, which maps and analyzes current and future water risks across locations.
  • Aqueduct Country Rankings, which allows decision-makers to understand and compare national and subnational water risks.
  • Aqueduct Food, which identifies current and future water risks to agriculture and food security.
  • Aqueduct Floods, which identifies coastal and riverine flood risks, and analyzes the costs and benefits of investing in flood protection.

Beyond the tools, the Aqueduct team works with companies, governments and research partners to help advance best practices in water resources management and enable sustainable growth in a water-constrained world.

In addition to Aqueduct, WPS develops innovative tools that identify and address water-related security risks, linking hydrological, socioeconomic and political factors to pinpoint changes in short-term water availability and their potential impacts on society. 

The WPS Global Early Warning tool allows actors from the global defense, development, diplomacy and disaster relief sectors and national governments to identify conflict hotspots before violence erupts, begin to understand the local context and prioritize opportunities for water interventions. WPS provides data, analyzes risks, proposes solutions and helps prevent conflicts over water by enabling policymakers and communities to take coordinated action at an early stage. This information allows for evidence-based actions to mitigate human security risks, which WPS facilitates through capacity development and dialogue support.

Photo by Sarel Kromer/Flickr