The World Water Atlas: Compelling Narratives and a Platform for Action

Published: 23 March 2018

The newly developed World Water Atlas has been launched at the occasion of World Water Day, March 22nd 2018, New York. The Kingdom of the Netherlands, through its Water Envoy Henk Ovink, took the initiative to develop this platform for compelling narratives and action. It is a platform where states and citizens can share and exchange lessons and good practices for addressing water-related disasters and translate them into solutions that can be promoted globally. Cees van de Guchte of Deltares coordinated the development process and will be charge of collecting stories and solutions.

Understand the risks
Water represents society’s most challenging and complex risk. Too much, too little, and too dirty water combine in potentially disastrous ways with climate change and socio-economic development. The High Level Panel on Water points out that we need to understand the risks and link them to potential solutions to inspire action.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, when meeting with the Sherpas of the UN and World Bank’s High Level Panel on Water, confirmed the urgency and need for action to better understand and address these complex risks, when he said:

“Give me a powerful story I can work with”.

For all the people and their leaders who want to understand and address the multifaceted risk related to water, the World Water Atlas is an interactive platform that marks water risk ‘hotspots,’ where challenges and opportunities collide. The Atlas is presented in action-inspiring narratives along three lines: too much, too little and too dirty water, and backed by reliable open-source data. The World Water Atlas will also deliver short documentary films, hardcopy outreach and public presentations and debates.

The roots of the World Water Atlas and Deltares
The founding partners for the World Water Atlas are the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Deltares, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, with support from the Dutch water sector and under the patronage of the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water.

Deltares being the programme-coordinator was operating somewhat out of the comfort zone because this project is not a standard Deltares product. Nevertheless, Deltares is convinced that this platform can work, can raise awareness and will be able to bring water knowledge to a higher level. Also for Deltares this is a great chance to learn. And the real work still has to start! The platform is interactive and must be vivid by real life stories and solutions. This can only be achieved by inspiring as many world citizens as possible and show that the story can make the difference!

So, more input needed
We explicitly invite all water related organisations to build this global water coalition together, and to submit their water-experience in an easily accessible way. We need your input, your knowledge, expertise, networks and solutions.

So be welcome to become an active partner of the World Water Atlas!