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Water stress indicator taking into account water required for the maintanance of freshwater-dependent ecosystems per river basin

Map description and dataset provided by: International Water Manangement Institute (IWMI)

DescriptionEnvironmental Water Stress Indicator

The water stress indicator shows the proportion of the utilizable water in world river basins currently withdrawn for direct human use and where this use is in conflict with environmental water requirements.



The dataset for this map was provided by: Vladimir Smakhtin, International Water Manangement Institute (IWMI)


Approximately 20 to 50 percent of the mean annual river flow in different basins needs to be allocated to freshwater-dependent ecosystems to maintain them in fair condition. This is unlikely to be possible in many developing countries in Asia and North Africa, in parts of Australia, North America, and Europe, where current total direct water withdrawals (primarily for irrigation) already tap into the estimated environmental water requirements.


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 72: Environmental Water Stress Indicator (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

Contact Information

Vadimir Smakhtin ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), PO Box 2075,Colombo ,Sri Lanka. Tel (direct): +94 11 2880055, Fax:+94 11 2786854

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