MapMaker: Water Risk Index

MapMaker: Water Risk Index

Not everyone on the planet has equal access to potable water. Use this map layer to develop a better understanding of how much water is available to local populations globally.


9 - 12+


Biology, Ecology, Health, Earth Science, Climatology, Geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Human Geography, Physical Geography

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Water is essential for the existence of life on Earth. However, with the growing human population, climate change and lack of investment in infrastructure to access potable or safe drinking water is threatened.

This map layer shows the percentage of the population that accesses their drinking water from unprotected sources such as a dug well, spring, river, lake, pond or canal. The World Resources Institute compiled the data. This dataset is an index, which means it comprises data illustrating 13 different types of water-related risks, such as amount, water quality and local regulations. Some areas, such as the Sahara Desert, have little water, but also few people, and the risk to water, as a result, is low. Other places have a high population and low water availability or safe infrastructure to access the water and will show in shades of red. Data like this help decision-makers prioritize areas for conservation or mitigation efforts.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
GIS Specialist
Zoë Lieb, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

June 20, 2024

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