Water crises pose a growing threat to livelihoods, ecosystems and security. Many people around the world lack access to sufficient, safe, affordable and clean water. Mismanagement of water resources, decreasing supplies of water and limited land use and water planning integration has led to rising water-related conflict throughout the world.

But there are paths forward. To turn water-related threats into opportunities for peacebuilding, these critical actions must be taken: collaboration among regional, national and international stakeholders; provide better access to data; ensure inclusive decision-making; increase capacity building; pursue partnerships; and scale up investment in water security and infrastructure. This suite of tools compiled by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Water, Peace, and Security Partnership aims to increase understanding of water stress as well as resources for capacity building, partnerships and collaboration.

The following toolbox provides resources to aid policymakers, decision-makers, local government officials, planners and water managers in identifying water risks and implementing solutions that can result in more peaceful and collaborative outcomes. These open-source tools have applicability in urban, suburban and rural contexts at the local and regional scales. These resources were compiled as part of the “Water as a Driver for Peace and International Cooperation” seminar at World Water Week 2022, co-convened by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the International Association of Hydrogeologists Commission of Transboundary Aquifers (IAH), the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), and World Resources Institute’s Water, Peace, & Security Partnership.

Jump to: Tools | Capacity Building | Partnerships


Ariel shot of a river in Brazil



  • Aqueduct Suite of Tools, from WRI’s Water Program, use open-source, peer reviewed data to map water risks such as floods, droughts and stress. The latest iteration of Aqueduct, Aqueduct 3.0, represents our most robust look at water risks to date, including more granular data, higher resolution, new indicators, improved tool function and access to underlying hydrological models. Our 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; and 
    • Aqueduct Floods, which identifies coastal and riverine flood risks, and analyzes the costs and benefits of investing in flood protection.
  • Climate Risk Tool (in development) is a tool that will improve understanding and use of climate risks in decision-making, plans, policies and investments. World Resources Institute is partnering with actors along select agricultural value chains to design the tool.
  • Exploring the Use of Land Value Capture Instruments for Green Resilient Infrastructure Benefits, a paper from the Lincoln Institute, describes how land value capture can provide alternative and local finance sources for green infrastructure. This study identifies and assesses the multiple benefits of a green resilient infrastructure project, including flood risk reduction, and proposes land value capture instruments for green resilient infrastructure benefits as a framework for financing public benefits and recovering the project investment.
  • Global Early Warning Tool, from the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership, uses a machine learning-based methodology to forecast conflict over the next 12 months, to help relevant actors identify conflict hotspots before violence erupts and understand the local context. Once every three months, the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership releases updated 12-month forecasts to meet user demand for early warning information.
  • Global Water Watch (in development) is a platform that will track global water availability in near real-time using AI algorithms. The platform is being developed by Deltares, World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute, and funded by Google​.
  • Reservoir Watch (in developmen) will be the world’s first open-access water modeling tool for assessing near real-time reservoir health and predicting future water resources. Microsoft is supporting the development of the tool, which is being developed by WRI India in partnership with BlackRock.
  • Resource Watch, built by World Resources Institute and over 30 partners, is a dynamic platform that features hundreds of data sets all in one place on the state of the planet’s resources and citizens. Users can visualize challenges facing people and the planet, from climate change to poverty, water risk to state instability, air pollution to human migration, and more.
  • Scenario Planning is a practice that allows communities to plan for an uncertain future by exploring multiple possibilities. The practice guides planners, community members and other stakeholders through considerations of various futures and how to effectively respond to and plan for them. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy provides an introduction to scenario planning.
  • Sponge Lands and Cities, an article from the Lincoln Institute's magazine Land Lines, expands on the concept of “sponge cities,” which use green infrastructure to absorb stormwater and combat pollution in urban areas. This land-based solution can retain rainwater at the source, slow water in the course of its flow and be used adaptively at its outlets (rivers, lakes and oceans). Sponge lands are an efficient, inexpensive solution, versus gray infrastructure (conventional engineering solutions), which consume huge amounts of cement, create a significant amount of carbon emissions, suffocate productive ecosystems and make land less resilient.
  • Toolbox for Setting Enterprise Water Targets, compiled by World Resources Institute, provides resources to aid companies in setting robust enterprise water targets that effectively address local shared water challenges. With these tools, companies can make changes in the ways and places that matter most across their value chains. These are open-source tools with applicability for global portfolios, rather than sector-specific or geographic-specific resources.


Training for capacity building at National Data Center.
Image credit: The Official CTBTO Photostream


Capacity Building

  • Aqueduct Alliance, part of WRI’s Water Program, provides companies, governments and research partners with one-on-one support from our experts. The Aqueduct Alliance helps advance best practices in water resource management and enable sustainable growth in a water-constrained world.
  • Cities4Forests, part of World Resources Institute, helps cities around the world to connect with and invest in inner forests (such as city trees and urban parks), nearby forests (such as green corridors and watersheds) and faraway forests (such as tropical and boreal forests). Cities4Forests encourages cities to better conserve, manage and restore these forests, and it provides technical assistance for them to align local policy, share knowledge and access peer-to-peer learning and communication activities for cities to take climate action together.
  • Growing Water Smart is a multi-day workshop that educates, trains and assists communities with implementing effective integration of land and water planning and management. Each workshop’s end goal is a one-year action plan to enhance a community’s ability to be resilient in a hotter and drier future. The Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy collaborates with the Sonoran Institute and other nonprofit organizations, community foundations, state agencies and local governments from across the Colorado River Basin to offer this program.
  • Internet of Water Coalition is a group of organizations working together with federal, state and local government partners to build foundational water data infrastructure across the U.S. and create a community of people and organizations using water data to make better decisions. The Coalition is building modern water data infrastructure to support water data management by providing tools that improve the discoverability, accessibility and usability of water data, educational programs for data users and decision-makers and access to a nationwide community of practice.
  • Urban Water Resilience in Africa Initiative, which WRI is convening, is creating a platform of partners to accelerate coordinated technical assistance and capacity building to advance implementation of urban water resilience actions. The initiative is helping several cities on the continent to implement the City Water Resilience Assessment (CWRA).


Open Government Partnership meeting.
Image credit: Open Government Partnership/Evan Abramson



  • A national Call to Action emerged from the Specialty Conference: Connecting Land & Water for Healthy Communities of the American Water Resources Association. The call to action, supported by the American Water Resources Association, the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, the APA Water and Planning Network and the American Water Works Association, promotes integrated approaches to effectively manage hydrologically and ecologically connected lands and water resources for urban and rural communities. Land and water management must be holistically managed to better mitigate risks and uncertainty, promote long-term sustainability and ensure healthy, resilient communities.
  • Climigration Network, an initiative of the Consensus Building Institute in partnership with the Lincoln Institute, helps communities find productive ways to talk about managed retreat. In 2018, the network provided five communities across the U.S. with seed grants to support locally-led projects addressing planned retreat.
  • Consortium for Scenario Planning helps to foster growth in the use of scenario planning at all scales. Through research, peer-to-peer learning, networking, training and technical assistance, the consortium helps communities develop better plans to guide a range of actions, from climate change adaptation to transportation investment. In addition to planners, the consortium also convenes researchers and software providers to develop more effective tools and reduce barriers to entry.
  • International Land Conservation Network connects civic and private organizations and people around the world to accelerate the protection and strengthen the management of land and natural resources.
  • Internet of Water Peer-to-Peer Network is a community of practice designed to connect members from across the U.S. who are passionate about water data.
  • Urban Water Resilience in Africa Initiative works to help cities overcome water challenges through research to illuminate urban water resilience challenges and pathways, partnerships with cities to enhance capacity and demonstrate solutions and collective action to improve enabling environments. The initiative is providing technical assistance, facilitating capacity building and partnering with a cohort of six cities and their regional and national governments to advance their water resilience agendas. This initiative is being led by WRI Africa, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, WRI’s Water Program and partners, including Arup, Resilient Cities Network and Resilience Shift.
  • Water and Tribes Initiative strives to enhance tribal capacity on water issues and advance collaborative decision-making in the Colorado River Basin, where 30 tribal nations play a significant role in sustainable water management. The Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Montana, Walton Family Foundation, Catena Foundation, Planet Women, the Ten Tribes Partnership and many other individuals and groups form this initiative.
  • Water, Peace, and Security Partnership offers a platform where actors from national governments of developing countries and the global development, diplomacy, defense and disaster relief sectors can identify potential water-related conflict hotspots before violence erupts, begin to understand the local context, prioritize opportunities for water interventions and undertake capacity development and dialogue activities.