LATHAM, N.Y. — Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization that works closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment, started Aqueduct in January 2013 after three years of development of the Water Risk Atlas. 

Aqueduct was built to help companies, investors, governments and communities better understand where and how water risks are emerging around the world, and uses a robust, peer-reviewed methodology and the best available data to create high-resolution, customizable global maps of water risk.

In December of 2013, Aqueduct released the first-ever global water stress rankings by country, tracking water risk across 181 countries and 100 river basins, and found that 37 countries face "extremely high" levels of water stress.

For World Water Day on March 22, WRI analyzed the top 100 river basins through the Aqueduct project and pinpointed the 18 river basins that face the highest water stress.

Water Technology caught up with Paul Reig, associate for the Aqueduct project, to discuss how the project got started, how the data is generated and how groups and inviduals worldwide are putting the data to use.

"We've been documenting a lot of the use of the Aqueduct data,” said Reig. “A number of multinational companies used the Aqueduct data to inform and prioritize their investments in reducing water related issues and contribute to improve water resource management in the river basins in which they're located. There were a number of financial institutions that ranked some of the assets in their portfolios based on their exposure to water risk to highlight what companies they should be engaging with.”

Listen to our full conversation with Reig in our latest podcast, available here.