Water, societies, and climate
Water demand has increased sharply in many regions of the world as a result of population growth and economic expansion. Meanwhile, climate change is expected to decrease water supply, alter the timing of water availability, and increase the severity of droughts and floods. These increasing pressures on water resources undermine water security and contribute to conflict, migration, health crises, and food and energy insecurity around the world.
Accurate and timely information on global water resources is essential for managing these growing risks and challenges. Global Water Watch, supported by Google.org and the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership, will provide free, globally accessible, near-real-time information on water. Deltares, World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are partnering to create the data platform, which will house information on thousands of global reservoirs and major river systems, helping decision-makers respond to extreme weather events and manage growing risks of climate change. The platform will use modern AI and EO algorithms to map dams, produce near-real-time, high-resolution spatiotemporal information on the amount of water stored in reservoirs, and the water level and flow in major river systems.
Global Water Watch, supported by Google and the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership, is a data platform of free, globally accessible near-real-time information on water. It provides information on thousands of global reservoirs and major river systems, helping decision-makers respond to extreme weather events and manage growing risks of climate change.
The platform uses modern AI and EO algorithms to map dams, produce high-resolution spatiotemporal information on the amount of water stored in reservoirs as well as water level and flow information in major river systems in near-real-time.
Assess the current state of drought and surface water resources on a global scale.
Transboundary water management
Assess water resources in internationally-shared river basins and track trends and detect deviations from normal years.
River basin and reservoir planning
Analyze stocks and balances, plan for growing seasons, and manage abstraction permits with global data that complements local data on water use and demands.
Planning - 2021
Dutch research institute Deltares, with partners World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Widlife Fund (WWF), received financial support from Google.org for the development of Global Water Watch.
Development - 2022
Develop a web-based platform and algorithms to monitor waterbodies such as reservoirs and rivers. This platform will provide access to high-resolution, near-real-time water information.
Launch - 2023
We aim to launch Global Water Watch in 2023. The platform will provide open access to near-real-time water information for thousands of reservoirs and river locations around the world. The open API platform will include tools to analyze data at different spatiotemporal scales (including administrative and hydrological).
Björn BackebergProject coordinator,
Hessel WinsemiusLead Hydrologist,
Alexis MorganGlobal Water Stewardship Lead,
Charles IcelandDirector, Global and National Water Initiatives,
Meredith HessStakeholder Engagement Lead,
Liz SaccocciaLead Water Security,
Roeli SuikerCommunications Lead,
Marlena ChertockCommunications Manager,
Global Water Watch, supported by Google and the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership, is a partnership between Deltares, World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Deltares will provide remote sensing and machine learning algorithms in the field of water and the subsoil. WRI will lead front-end user requirements and use case development. WWF will lead stakeholder engagement and convene dialogues with local communities.
The financial support for the development of the Global Water Watch platform was covered by the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate. Google.org is the philanthropic arm of Google. Their goal is to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges — combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone.