In 2015, a growing number of international organizations, companies and investment firms used Aqueduct – WRI’s global online water data platform – to assess risk and improve water management. With its clear, accessible presentation of information, Aqueduct has become the world standard for water risk assessment.

The Challenge

Businesses and other multinational organizations can’t manage what they can’t measure when it comes to water availability now and in the future. Because the risks to this essential resource are complex, they can be challenging to present in an accessible format to the range of audiences that need them.

WRI’s Role

Aqueduct staff worked actively with the Red Cross Red Crescent, Morgan Stanley, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Natural Capital Declaration, and a suite of German sustainability and financial entities to integrate water risk data into decision-making.

FAO’s AQUASTAT, the world’s leading water data source, will now include key Aqueduct indicators on flooding and water supply variability from year to year and from season to season. This will enhance FAO’s monitoring of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating extreme poverty while encouraging sustainable development.

Red Cross Red Crescent’s Climate Centre uses the Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer in its worldwide training program to help decision-makers communicate current and future flood risks in terms of the number of lives affected and dollars lost, while making these risks relevant to trainees with estimates for countries, states and watersheds where local data is not available.

Morgan Stanley’s Sustainable + Responsible investment research team chose Aqueduct to identify water risk to potential investments, such as the food and beverage sector, empowering more investors to understand water risk and drive improved water management among companies in their portfolios.

The German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Natural Capital Declaration and the German Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability in Financial Institutions incorporated Aqueduct data on future water stress into a tool to identify water risks to corporate bonds. The tool will be available in the Bloomberg terminal for financial analysts.

The Impact

By quantifying complex risks and making this information simple to find and use, Aqueduct data has become the standard for water risk assessment. When these risks are explained in meaningful terms of economic and human impact, they become easier to manage. Ultimately, the widespread use of Aqueduct will enable people, businesses and entire societies to cope better as climate change and other factors increase water-related risks.