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      Assessing SDG indicator 6.4.2 “level of water stress” at major basins level

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            This paper describes a method to disaggregate the indicator 6.4.2 (level of water stress) by major river basin. The analysis was performed using the GlobWat soil water balance model and global geospatial data consistent with national statistics published in AQUASTAT, the FAO’s global information system on water and agriculture. When a river basin spans across more than one country, the water stress calculated by country can be very different from that calculated by river basin since the counting of the renewable freshwater resources from one country to another is highly dependent on the official agreement and treaties that regulate the flow of those resources between countries. This problem is hydrologically solved once the accounting of the water resources is done on the major river basin as a whole. The disaggregation by river basin allows the identification of hotspots where actions should be prioritized and reveals that the area affected by a high or critical water stress spans across all continents with the exception of Oceania. It offers also the possibility of an analysis of freshwater withdrawals by sector, which may become crucial for the definition of water management policies in the context of the economic development of a country.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            31 May 2021
            [1 ] FAO, viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153, Rome
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 31 May 2021

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            General environmental science,Geography
            Water stress,GIS,Environmental Flows,Sustainable development goals,river basin,disaggregation,Water resources,Sustainability


            Date: 2 August 2021

            Handling Editor: Dr Luiza Campos

            Editorial decision: Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision.

            2021-08-18 10:41 UTC

            Date: 14 June 2021

            Handling Editor: Dr Luiza Campos (manuscript is part of the Special issue on Water and the UN Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs)

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2021-06-14 13:07 UTC

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