Water stress

Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.). (European Environment Agency n.d.)

"Compared to scarcity, water stress is a more inclusive and broader concept. It considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including water availability, water quality, and the accessibility of water (i.e., whether people are able to make use of physically available water supplies), which is often a function of the sufficiency of infrastructure and the affordability of water, among other things. Both water consumption and water withdrawals provide useful information that offers insight into relative water stress. There are a variety of physical pressures related to water, such as flooding and drought, that are not included in the notion of water stress. Water stress has subjective elements and is assessed differently depending on societal values. For example, societies may have different thresholds for what constitutes sufficiently clean drinking water or the appropriate level of environmental water requirements to be afforded to freshwater ecosystems, and thus assess stress differently."  (CEO Water Mandate, 2014)


European Environment Agency. n.d. “Water Stress.” Accessed June 9, 2021. https://www.eea.europa.eu/archived/archived-content-water-topic/wise-he….

CEO Water Mandate. "Driving Harmonization of Water-Related Terminology". Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines. (2014). Link: https://ceowatermandate.org/disclosure/resources/driving/

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Healthy Rivers for All Initiative

This website includes tools and resources for developing basin report cards. It includes reports that incorporate satellite imagery to measure environmental indicators and change over time.

With the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), we are developing, packaging, and sharing a process that helps stakeholders create science-based report cards in their own basins with the right buy-in on-the-ground and credibility globally, so they can better manage resources for the protection of fresh water they depend upon.