A changing climate means less rain and lower water supplies in regions where many people live and much of the planet's food is produced, as clouds retreat toward the North and South poles. A new study shows this cloud shift is already taking place, with huge implications for agriculture, industry and municipal water provisioning.
This technical note describes the data and methodology used to calculate BWS-China, building on the methodology described in previous Aqueduct publications (Shiklomanov and Rodda 2014; Gassert et al. 2013). In general, results show that Aqueduct’s global baseline water stress indicator maps and BWS-China maps share similar spatial patterns. However, upon closer examination, the maps show differences in some catchments. More detailed water withdrawal data by sector used in BWS-China can reveal new spatial patterns.
Research on future water risk finds that rapidly growing demand for water will drive the greatest increase in water stress, even more so than supply changes caused by droughts and other extreme events.
While droughts, floods and increasingly rapid groundwater depletion are cause for concern, this year presents unprecedented opportunities to pursue better water management. Director of WRI's Global Water program Betsy Otto explains.
The cut-flower industry takes a heavy toll on the land, water and climate. Researcher Kathleen Buckingham explains.
Water scarcity challenges industries around the world. Global population growth and economic development suggest a future of increased demand, competition, and cost for limited freshwater supplies. Scarcer water, in turn, creates new challenges for energy supply because coal, oil, gas, and electricity production can require massive amounts of freshwater. Yet many countries will need more energy for energy-intensive water treatment options, like seawater desalination, to meet their growing demand for water. This report illustrates these emerging risks and offers ideas for finding solutions at the water-energy nexus.
This bubble chart shows the water and energy intensity of various industries. The bubble size is proportional to revenue (2013 figures). Source: Bloomberg Terminal (accessed summer 2015).
Coal production and power generation has driven Ningxia’s economy over the past decade. However, as an extremely thirsty industry, coal has put more stress on the area’s water supply and heightened competition with other users, including farms and households. A WRI working paper recommends developing a coordinated system to ensure sustainable development of water and economy in Ningxia.
Conflict in the Middle East and Africa is driving a human tsunami that has sent 500,000 people into Europe this year in the worst migration crisis since World War II. Beyond the conflict, however, there is another contributing factor: water scarcity.
Solving the challenges of air and water pollution will require more than the adoption of top-down solutions or greener technology. It will require countries to address key governance challenges, like inaccessible information and a lack of public participation.
The U.S. Clean Power Plan’s impact on water has been largely overlooked, even though power plants account 45 percent of the country's water withdrawals.
Globally, changing water supply and demand is inevitable; what that change will look like is far from certain. A first-of-its-kind analysis sheds new light on the issue.
Decision-makers need future projections on water supply and demand. However, most of these decision-makers operate at the administrative or political scales, and therefore require country-level projections. This technical note utilized a spatial aggregation methodology to bring sub-catchment scale Aqueduct Water Stress Projections up to the country scale, fulfilling this need.
When it comes to water, most people don’t know what they’ve got ‘til it’s gone – yet we are already facing a water scarcity crisis.
Many of the world's biggest aquifers are being depleted much faster than they can be replenished, from the Middle East to India to California. New NASA satellite data reveals a looming global groundwater crisis.
Both private and public sectors see the need to plan for potential changes in water availability caused by climate change and economic development.
In certain areas of the world, more than 80 percent of the local water supply is withdrawn by businesses, farmers, residents and other consumers every year. These areas are particularly vulnerable to episodic drought.
Snow-capped mountain ranges no longer have snow. Citizens fear they'll lose access to water. And farmers continue to draw scarce groundwater.
So what can California do to shore up its dwindling water supply?
The availability of freshwater resources to meet human demands has emerged as a top-tier global issue for both environment and development. However, many decision-makers lack the technical expertise to fully understand hydrological information.
This working paper updates the 2013 Aqueduct Global Maps 2.0 Metadata Document. It describes the data sources and calculations for the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas Global Maps. Complete guidelines and processes for data collection, calculations, and mapping techniques are described in the Aqueduct Global Maps 2.1: Constructing Decision-Relevant Global Water Risk Indicators.