Research article

Assessing SDG indicator 6.4.2 ‘level of water stress’ at major basins level

Authors
  • Riccardo Biancalani orcid logo (FAO, viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy)
  • Michela Marinelli orcid logo (c/o FAO, viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy)

This is version 1 of this article, the published version can be found at: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444/ucloe.000026

Abstract

This paper describes a method to disaggregate indicator 6.4.2 (level of water stress) by major river basins. The analysis was performed using the GlobWat soil water balance model and global geospatial data consistent with national statistics published in AQUASTAT, the FAO’s global information system on water and agriculture. When a river basin spans across more than one country, the water stress calculated by country can be very different from that calculated by the river basin as the counting of the renewable freshwater resources from one country to another is highly dependent on the official agreement and treaties that regulate the flow of those resources between countries. This problem is solved hydrologically once the accounting of the water resources is done on the major river basin as a whole. The disaggregation by the river basin allows the identification of hotspots where actions should be prioritised and reveals that the area affected by a high or critical water stress spans across all continents with the exception of Oceania. It also offers the possibility of an analysis of freshwater withdrawals by sector, which may become crucial for the definition of water management policies in the context of the economic development of a country.

Keywords: water stress, GIS, environmental flows, Sustainable Development Goals, river basin, disaggregation

Rights: © 2021 The Authors.

1703 Views

4Citations

Published on
04 Nov 2021
Peer Reviewed

 Open peer review from Alban Kuriqi

Review

Review information

DOI:: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-GEO.AXKXS3.v1.RXSTNZ
License:
This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

Keywords: Sustainable development goals , Environmental Flows , Water stress , river basin , disaggregation , Water resources , GIS , Sustainability

Review text

This is a very interesting study. I enjoyed reading the manuscript. Nevertheless, it needs some further improvements. In general, there are still some occasional grammar errors throughout the manuscript, especially the article "the," "a," and "an" is missing in many places; please make a spellchecking in addition to these minor issues. The reviewer has listed some specific comments that might help the authors further enhance the manuscript's quality.

  1. Specific Comments

A list of acronyms is needed.

  • Introduction
  • The objectives should be more explicitly stated.
  • What is the novelty of this work?
  • Methods
  • All variables should be explained.
  • Results
  • This section is well written.
  • Discussion
  • The discussion should summarize the manuscript's main finding(s) in the context of the broader scientific literature and address any limitations of the study or results that conflict with other published work.



Note:
This review refers to round of peer review and may pertain to an earlier version of the document.

 Open peer review from Olcay Unver

Review

Review information

DOI:: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-GEO.ASHBZG.v1.RQKWEU
License:
This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

Keywords: Sustainable development goals , Environmental Flows , Water stress , river basin , disaggregation , Water resources , GIS , Sustainability

Review text

The authors provide a realistic, implementable methodology to make the SDG6 water stress indicator at the river basin level, and use their methodology to demonstrate the state of the indicator using verified, globally applicable data sets that are maintained in FAO's AQUASTAT. I expect this paper to be extensively used by researchers, professionals and countries and to set a standard in the assessment and collaborative, holistic management of river basins.



Note:
This review refers to round of peer review and may pertain to an earlier version of the document.

 Open peer review from Sandile Mbatha

Review

Review information

DOI:: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-GEO.A4FMT8.v1.RZONCF
License:
This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

Keywords: Sustainable development goals , Environmental Flows , Water stress , river basin , disaggregation , Water resources , GIS , Sustainability

Review text

This paper presents an interesting technical method to disaggregate the indicator 6.4.2. I found the paper to be overly technical and didn’t bring forth the importance of accurately monitoring and measuring the indicator. The paper could benefit from highlight real-life examples where levels of water stress at major basins have caused human and environmental suffering. I also think the paper missed an opportunity to highlight issues of data collection at country level on the indicator. While the methodology is important in monitoring the indicator, ensuring that accurate and reliable data is collected at national level is critical. I didn’t get a sense of whether the authors found this to be a challenge that would ultimately hinder the ability to report on the indicator. Furthermore, I believe the paper could have benefited from zooming in onto a specific context to demonstrate how robust the indicator is in assessing the indicator at regional and subregional levels.

Other important comments: there are grammatic errors that need to be addressed all through the paper which make it difficult to read.

For none technical readers the paper might be a little confusing if the methods and formulars are not explicitly explained.

The results section is clear and reads well. In fact, it allows practitioners to understand issues related to indicator 6.4.2 and the implications of measuring or not measuring this indicator at national level. However, I do feel that you can expand a little bit on population densities as playing a significant role in increasing water stress. Although mentioned on the last paragraph of the results section, it might be beneficial to expand on this a little further and perhaps engage with how the method would, in future, need to take into consideration population densities as a key variable.



Note:
This review refers to round of peer review and may pertain to an earlier version of the document.