Water Resources Assessment

Small waterfalls in a forest

According to the WMO/UNESCO International Glossary of Hydrology (2012), water resources assessment (WRA) is the "determination of the sources, extent, dependability and quality of water resources for their utilization and control.", and of the human activities that affect those resources (Young et al., 1994). It has also been described as the “systematic study of the current status and future trends in both water resources and water supply services, with a particular focus on issues relating to availability, accessibility and demand” (Batchelor et al., 2005).

WRA is also a prerequisite for sustainable development and management of water resources worldwide. It provides a basis for the sound and proper planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of projects associated with the following:

WRA infographic

Water resources assessment, under various names (e.g. water accounting, water resource audits, water census) are being increasingly promoted as a key component of integrated water resources management.​

Although the concept of water resources assessment may appear straightforward, its comprehensive implementation can be  complex and difficult to achieve.

This webpage is designed to assist National Hydrological Services in implementing WRA by providing an evolving toolkit of appropriate and adaptable techniques that are consistent with their needs and capabilities.​

Critical elements of sound water resources assessments include:

WRA critical elements

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