Aqueduct: Measuring, mapping & understanding water risks around the globe

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Aqueduct's global water risk mapping tool helps companies, investors, governments, and other users understand where and how water risks and opportunities are emerging worldwide.

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  • Hundreds of CEOs and world leaders met last week in Davos, including WRI’s Pres. Andrew SteerIn preparation for Davos, the World Economic Forum earlier this month released its 2013 Global Risks reportIt includes this chart which ranks each global risk by its likelihood and the potential impact it could create. (Click – circle appears)For the second year in a row –Water was among the top 5 risks (at the top of the chart) – most likely to occur; and highest impactOn par with chronic fiscal imbalances and major systemic financial crisis. So what do these water risks look like, and who do they impact? Let’s look at a few examples…
  •  Last year’s severe drought in the US (2012) worst in 60 years (over 70% of the US declared“natural disaster areas”)Caused up to 1% drop in US GDP One of the less obvious impacts has occurred on the Mississippi River in the United States:This critical shipping artery – carries $180 billion in freight every year (grain, coal, other goods)
  • Another recent example from South America:Drought in Brazil Prospect of power rationing for the first time in over a decade 60% increase in power prices (about 2/3 of Brazil’s power comes from hydro)Cost the government over US$1 billionin relief funds for farmers Both of these are examples of water issues creating real, tangible, and expensive risks for companies, supply chains, investors, governments, and communities. So, back in 2010, WRI set out to better understand and map complex water risksidentifying and mapping the data points help us understand where, and in what form, water risks are emerging around the world
  • WRI conducted a very rigorous analysis of the latest science and publicly available dataWe consulted with leading experts from academia, NGOs, government, and the private sectorConducted extensive external peer review with more than 20 water and water risk experts
  • To assist us we also reached out to leaders in the private sector ….We created the Aqueduct Alliance, in partnership with our original supporters GE and Goldman SachsSince then, we’ve added a broad array of partners (NAME THEM) to our Aqueduct Alliance
  • In the three years since we started Aqueduct, we have come a long way.I want to take a few minutes to walk you through Aqueduct’s evolution:where we startedwhat we learnedhow we advanced from those lessons to create the product we released on January 30th
  • WRI took its first look at mapping water risks back in 2010 – “Over Heating” publication in 2010 looked at thermoelectric and hydropower generation locations with water stress in AsiaThis simple little image became one of the most widely cited and circulated images from WRI that yearWe realized that good maps were importantto helping people understand water risk…
  • Our original effort was basin-by-basin We set out to map water risks in 10 priority river basins around the worldWe learned a great deal from the 6 basins we mapped (shown here, and downloadable) how to create multi-variable water risk maps, developing good risk indicatorslocal data for many key indicators didn’t exist in key basinswe couldn’t provide the coverage that companies with global operations and supply chains, and other users, need to understand and compare risk and prioritizeWe focused on the opportunity to make something much more useful by creating global maps…
  • Now, 3 years later…Aqueduct is the most high-resolution, up-to-date global water risk mapping source in the world.A comprehensive set of global maps with data for 15,000 catchmentsAllows for full coverage, while still providing excellent resolutionUsing the most current data available (2010)Provides groundwater maps for the first timeSo, what is it that we are mapping? That has evolved too.
  • We are now mapping 12 separate indicators under the Aqueduct Water Risk Frameworkbrings indicators together under three key categories of water risk; and also provides an overall aggregated riskscore includes several indicators developed exclusively for Aqueduct (baseline water stress, variability (interannual & seasonal), return flow ratiostructured, in particular, to help companies and investors understand indicators of water-related risk to their business…but is intended for all users, including government and civil society to better understand geographic water issuesAqueduct’s 30+ data sources selected using multiple criteria:- Relevance to water users and water managers- Robustness of data collection methodology- Global coverage- Granularity- Timeliness of publications- Length of time coveredResponded to feedback that less is moreEach indicator has a map, and each map tells a piece of the story on water risk. Let’s look at a few...
  • One indicator we map is floods – not just where they happen, but where they have the greatest impactSeveral things pop out in this map:Some flooding is driven by hurricanes and typhoons – like the east coast of the US and parts of AsiaSome flooding is driven by rivers that flood from snowmelt – like parts of EuropeSome flooding is monsoon driven – like south AsiaAll of these floods have the potential to create costly disruptions
  • Another indicator looks at threatened amphibian species as a proxy for fragile freshwater ecosystemsPlaces where these key indicator species are threatened may be more likely to come under additional protection requirements. They can also pose reputational risks – companies may face more scrutiny if they are operating in areas where there is the potential – real or perceived – to damage fragile ecosystems
  • Groundwater is an important part of the water pictureThis is the first time groundwater has been included in a water risk toolWe look at which major aquifers are being mined unsustainably – where water is being taken out faster than it is being replenished Comes from a dataset developed by McGill university, published in Nature magazine (2012)Looks at major aquifers (note: areas in gray represent areas with complex or shallow groundwater resources which pose challenges for reporting reliable statistics)Represents some of the most recent and robust research on groundwater abstraction and recharge rates I’ve highlighted just a few of Aqueduct’s water risk indicators here, but they are most powerful when they come together…
  • - Once we have the indicators and the data for all the catchments globally, we stack them on top of each other one by one by one…
  • …And create overall water risk maps that – combine information from each indicator into comprehensive, and richly textured picture of water risk around the world
  • We recognize that different users, different types of businesses, will prioritize risk indicators differentlyAqueduct offers a set of pre-determined indicator weightings that generate water risk maps:a “WRI default” weightingspecific weightings tailored for 9 key industry sectorsThese pre-sets are only a suggested starting point, the tool allows users to customize the weight of each indicator to reflect their own specific interests or concerns
  • …and here is how all of those pieces come together…into High resolution maps (CLICK to ZOOM in)Online interface that is very easy to use and functionalAnd in keeping with WRI’s open data and transparency values: Aqueduct’s methodology, maps, GIS shape files, and data completely free to all userseasily downloadable
  • …and here is how all of those pieces come together…into High resolution maps (CLICK to ZOOM in)Online interface that is very easy to use and functionalAnd in keeping with WRI’s open data and transparency values: Aqueduct’s methodology, maps, GIS shape files, and data completely free to all userseasily downloadable
  • …and here is how all of those pieces come together…into High resolution maps (CLICK to ZOOM in)Online interface that is very easy to use and functionalAnd in keeping with WRI’s open data and transparency values: Aqueduct’s methodology, maps, GIS shape files, and data completely free to all userseasily downloadable
  • …and here is how all of those pieces come together…into High resolution maps (CLICK to ZOOM in)Online interface that is very easy to use and functionalAnd in keeping with WRI’s open data and transparency values: Aqueduct’s methodology, maps, GIS shape files, and data completely free to all userseasily downloadable
  • GE
  • Aqueduct: Measuring, mapping & understanding water risks around the globe

    1. 1. AQUEDUCTWRI’S GLOBAL WATER RISK MAPPING TOOL
    2. 2. WATER SUPPLY CRISESRISK TOPS IMPACT ANDLIKELIHOOD
    3. 3. $180 BILLION IN FREIGHTRELY ON MISSISSIPPI Source: American Farm Bureau Association Photo: USDA
    4. 4. BRAZIL DROUGHTPOWER PRICE UP 60% Source: Rio Times Photo: flickr: queulat00
    5. 5. BUILDING ON SCIENCE : EXPERT REVIEWERS CDP Water Disclosure Project  The World Bank Ceres  US Environmental Protection Agency Columbia University  University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Deloitte Consulting LLP  University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Global Adaptation Institute  University of Virginia Global Water Strategies  Water Footprint Network Nanjing University  World Business Council for Sustainable Development National Geographic  Yale University Pacific Institute The Nature Conservancy
    6. 6. BUILDING ON BUSINESS : AQUEDUCT ALLIANCE
    7. 7. > WHERE WE STARTED > WHAT WE LEARNED > HOW WE EVOLVED
    8. 8. WHERE IT STARTED : 2010 WATER AND POWER
    9. 9. WHERE WE STARTED : BASIN-BY-BASIN
    10. 10. HOW WE EVOLVED : GLOBAL MAPPING
    11. 11. UNDERSTANDING RISK : AQUEDUCT FRAMEWORK Overall Water Risk Physical Risk: Physical Risk: Regulatory & QUANTITY QUALITY Reputational Risk  Baseline water stress  Inter-annual variability  Seasonal variability  Media coverage  Return flow ratio  Flood occurrence  Access to water  Upstream protected land  Drought severity  Threatened amphibians  Upstream storage  Groundwater stress
    12. 12. INDICATOR : WHERE FLOOD IMPACT IS HIGHEST Data Source: Brackenridge et.al. Dartmouth Flood Observatory
    13. 13. INDICATOR : WHERE ECOSYSTEMS ARE FRAGILE Data Source: IUCN Red List of Endangered Species
    14. 14. INDICATOR : WHERE GROUNDWATER IS OVERDRAWN Data Source: Gleeson et.al. Nature 2012
    15. 15. THE POWER OF AGGREGATION
    16. 16. THE POWER OF AGGREGATION
    17. 17. UNIQUE USERS : TAILORED WEIGHTING WRI Default Agriculture Food & Beverage Chemicals Electric power Semi-conductor Oil & Gas MiningConstruction Materials Textile 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%  Quantity  Quality  Regulatory and reputational
    18. 18. OPEN PLATFORM : USER FRIENDLY AND FREE
    19. 19. ZOOM IN FOR MORE DETAIL
    20. 20. ZOOM IN FOR MORE DETAIL
    21. 21. OPEN PLATFORM : USER FRIENDLY AND FREE
    22. 22. AQUEDUCT IS ALREADY IN USE McDonalds – required 353 of its biggest suppliers to map their facility locations on Aqueduct, and report their water risk levels back to the corporation Procter & Gamble –using Aqueduct maps and data as part of their water risk assessment strategy Bank of America/Merrill Lynch – Used Aqueduct data and maps to inform investors on water risks and opportunities for investment in their 2012 ESG & Sustainability report: A Blue Revolution – global water. National Intelligence Council – used Aqueduct data and maps in national intelligence estimate on global water security
    23. 23. Thank you for joining! CONTACT USBetsy Otto | Aqueduct Director | botto@wri.org Rob Kimball | Associate | rkimball@wri.org WRI.org/Aqueduct

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