Helping city leaders, businesses, and civil society find solutions to urban water challenges worldwide
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities believes equitable, sustainable water management is key to global well-being. Every city dweller on earth depends on clean freshwater for food, energy, commerce, and daily survival. But we face a growing freshwater crisis. Everyone will be affected, but the world’s poorest people will suffer most.
Access to better information to understand water challenges is the first step toward addressing this urgent challenge. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities’ water program measures, maps, and communicates water-related risks through publicly available online tools and reports to expand access to reliable, consistent information. Aqueduct™ is an open-source, cutting edge global water mapping and risk-assessment platform. Aqueduct hosts the world’s most trusted information on competition for water, future water supply and demand changes, flood risks, water stress on food and energy resources, and more.
We also advise decision-makers on the latest solutions to water-related issues. We conduct economic analyses on water stress tradeoffs among key sectors and that enables action to improve water, food, and energy security. For example, in Qingdao, China, we evaluated the energy-climate-water trade-offs for different urban water sources and recommended the most sustainable solutions. We also promote strategies like natural infrastructure and water quality trading projects that protect water quality and quantity for downstream communities.
Finally, we scale our solutions for the most widespread, lasting change possible. WRI is uniquely positioned to equip its worldwide networks of champions and grassroots advocates to motivate change. We are catalyzing a global movement to transform the way the world secures freshwater with the Natural Infrastructure for Water Campaign. We work with international financial institutions and private investors to harness demand for green investments, such as green bonds for sustainable water infrastructure. We work with dozens of Fortune 500 companies to assess and help mitigate water-related risks, and we equip civil society groups with information and tools they otherwise wouldn’t have to hold governments and businesses accountable for better water management.
28 percent of water used globally—and 70 percent of energy produced—is used by cities every year.
21 million people and $96 billion in GDP are at risk from river floods each year.
The 2014 World Economic Forum ranked water supply crises as the top global risk.
Globally, 70 percent of freshwater use is for agriculture, 22 percent for industry, and 8 percent for domestic activities.
In 1960, freshwater and coastal aquatic ecosystems contained fewer than 24 reported dead zones. Today, there are more than 500.