EGU23-9040, updated on 09 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The World Water Map of water scarcity hotspots

Niko Wanders1, Myrthe Leijnse1, Bram Droppers1, Barry van Jaarsveld1, Jannis Hoch1,2, Jonas Götte1,3, and Marc Bierkens1,4
Niko Wanders et al.
  • 1Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2Fathom, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 3WSL, Davos, Switzerland
  • 4Deltares, Utrecht, The Netherlands

The World’s water resources are under severe pressure as a result of unsustainable exploitation and rapidly changing hydroclimatic conditions. In the National Geographic World Water Map project, we combine state of the art hydrological modelling expertise, with storytelling expertise from National Geographic. The World Water Map aims to shed new light on water problems in the world.

In this project we identify 17 hotspots of water scarcity based on state-of-the-art large-scale hydrological modelling results. For the so called “hotspots” we analyze which policies, regulations and climatic changes have resulted in the development of these areas under pressure. We do this by using a literature study of over 175 scientific publications, which helps to identify the drivers and pressure as well as their impact and response for each hotspot. This information is then all included in the online Water Map that provides the general public, policy makers and peers in science with this information. The map consists of an interactive web portal where we tell the untold stories of water scarcity, support water scarcity literacy so that people understand the problems surrounding water scarcity, and provide an interactive platform where people can identify the vulnerability of their local neighbourhoods.

By combining science and storytelling we can shed light on “hotspots” as well as provide the untold stories in these regions. Together with the local and national policymakers we aim to provide much needed open information on pathways forward and future outlooks for “hotspots” around the world.

How to cite: Wanders, N., Leijnse, M., Droppers, B., van Jaarsveld, B., Hoch, J., Götte, J., and Bierkens, M.: The World Water Map of water scarcity hotspots, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9040,, 2023.