Increasing pressures on water resources and escalating impacts of climate change undermine water security and contribute to conflict, migration, health crises, and food and energy insecurity around the world. Currently, around half the global population lives under highly water-stressed conditions for at least one month of the year, according to new data from WRI’s Aqueduct platform. Unless better water management practices are put in place, these challenges will likely worsen as climate change and growing populations put ever more strain on the world's freshwater supply.

Accurate and timely information on global water resource availability is essential for managing these growing risks. Accessible, reliable water data can make societies more climate resilient, provide early warnings for drought or food shortages, preserve and restore vital ecosystems, and help decision-makers more sustainably manage water and respond to extreme weather events.

Global Water Watch is a new data platform that provides free, globally accessible information on the amount of water stored in reservoirs and the water level and flow in major river systems around the world. The data platform uses Earth Observation (EO) algorithms, satellite data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and machine learning to map dams and produce high-resolution spatiotemporal and granular (10m) information in near-real-time. Global Water Watch is a partnership between DeltaresWorld Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund, with funding from and the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership.

Use Cases

  • Drought awareness: Assess the current state of drought and surface water resources on a global scale.
  • Transboundary water management: Assess water resources in internationally shared river basins and track trends and detect deviations from normal years.
  • River basin and reservoir planning: Analyze stocks and balances, plan for growing seasons, and manage abstraction permits with global data that complements local data on water use and demands.