The World Resources Institute (WRI) believes that water scarcity is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. In its Global Risks 2013 report, the World Economic Forum identified water supply crises as one of the highest impact and most likely risks facing the planet. According to the report, "Two risks appear in the top five of both impact and likelihood – chronic fiscal imbalances and water supply crises." With the support of a diverse group of partners and in response to this growing need, WRI built Aqueduct to help companies, investors, governments, and communities better understand where and how water risks are emerging around the world. Aqueduct will measure, map and allow a better understanding of water risks around the globe. In January 2013, the World Resources Institute launched the centerpiece of Aqueduct after a three-year development effort: the Water Risk Atlas. The Atlas uses a robust, peer reviewed methodology and the best-available data to create high-resolution, customizable global maps of water risk.

The Aqueduct Atlas allows users to perform a variety of searches and to customize analyses including:

  1. view maps of projected change in water stress in coming decades;
  2. learn more about Aqueduct's river basin studies;
  3. review up-to-date water risk news stories;
  4. download data behind Aqueduct's water risk maps;
  5. examined data sources and methodology behind water risk maps; and,
  6. input or upload locations for study and export those results to Exel.

WRI offers "how to" tutorials, online instruction and seminars on how to use this valuable tool to review, assess and track water risk. WRI also supports a related blog and Twitter associated with Aqueduct.

There are many reasons a party may need to better understand water risk in a certain area, region or country. Aqueduct is an important tool available to the public allowing up-to-date access on water risk both now and in the future.

WRI is committed to transparency and open data. The data and methodology behind Aqueduct are documented and available for download. Thanks to WRI and its partners, all the products, methodologies and data sets that make up Aqueduct are available for free use.

To learn more about WRI and Aqueduct, visit http://aqueduct.wri.org/.