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database, wiki, manual… 5 resources for a better understanding of water-related issues


As the 7th World Water Forum is held in Daegu, here is an overview of five freely accessible tools for a better understanding of water resources.

Aquastat: the database on water and its use in agriculture

Aquastat Aquastat is an on-line database established by the FAO’s Land and Water Division. It focuses on information related to water and its use in agriculture. This tool allows users to find comprehensive data sets by country and topic on irrigation areas, precipitation volumes, amounts of water withdrawn for irrigation, etc.

Aquastat database

KWIP: the key water indicators portal

The United Nations agency dedicated to water-related issues (UN-Water) has created the KWIP (Key Water Indicators Portal), which gives users an analytical overview of the principal indicators by country for access to water resources and its use:
– Renewable freshwater resources per capita;
– Percentage of the population with access to improved sanitation;
– Breakdown of water use among the different sectors (agriculture, industry, individuals);
– Etc.
This platform provides a synthesis of data from the different agencies of the United Nations, including Aquastat.

Example of the display on water use in Brazil

WikiWater: a collaborative encyclopedia of water

Modeled after the collaborative platform Wikipedia, WikiWater is a multi-media encyclopedia created completely on a voluntary basis, which contains “around a hundred fairly simple, concrete, clever, sustainable and low cost solutions to facilitate access to water and sanitation by the most fragile populations, especially in the rural and suburban areas of developing countries”.

In the form of thematic information sheets, WikiWater describes in detail methods for use by families for preserving drinking water at home, sanitation techniques in shantytowns, as well as the operations of a water users’ association.

Wikiwater Homepage

Akvopedia : the English language wiki

Modeled after WikiWater, Akvopedia is a wiki (i.e. a tool that can be edited and consulted by everyone) on the topic of water. It has two portals, one devoted to issues pertaining to water and the other to sanitation.
Through the frequent use of illustrations and diagrams, Akvopedia helps users to understand the different techniques and technologies for access to water, water treatment, etc.
Akvopedia was launched by Akvo, which develops open source tools and software for use by development agencies.

Diagram available on the Akvopedia website

A practical manual for making human rights to water and sanitation a reality

The United Nations has published a practical guide in the form of nine booklets designed to help countries, local authorities, businesses and associations in the practical implementation of the right to water and sanitation, which is recognized as a fundamental right.
Using check lists and concrete examples, it describes how to implement this right from both a legal and a practical standpoint.

Booklets comprising the practical manual