Upgraded Water Risk Filter 5.0 can help transform business response to water risk


Co-developed by WWF and KfW-DEG (the German Development Bank), the tool has undergone by far the biggest upgrade in its history. Along with major improvements to the way it looks and feels, there are also significant changes to the way it functions, enabling companies and investors to explore, assess, value and respond to water risk.

So what exactly is new?
The tool has many new features and functions but let’s focus on a few of the key ones:

  1. A new look and interface
  2. An upgraded data structure and indicators
  3. New local high resolution data 
  4. A new response section coming live soon
  5. A new valuation section coming live soon

A new look and interface
The first thing users will notice about the enhanced tool will be the new interface and branding. The updated Water Risk Filter now has a new logo and a more compelling set of colours – from the website to the risk maps themselves. More importantly, it also boasts a cleaner, simpler interface. The new tool will be structured around four areas: Explore, Assess, Value and Respond. While historically the Water Risk Filter has included elements of most of these, the focus has largely been on the ‘Assess’ section. The new version will be stronger across all four areas.

  • Explore 32 risk maps, 60+ risk indicators, 12+ high resolution country data sets and WWF river basin story maps as well as WWF water risk & stewardship reports, and details on methodology & data.
  • Assess one or multiple sites using 32 basin risk indicators and an array of updated operational risk indicators (including a quick response option). Results can be saved and data filtered using maps, charts, tables and figures to develop clearer insights into water risk exposure.
  • Value potential financial impacts by exploring how water and value link together using our valuation framework to unpack principles, guidance and calculators. Powered by CDP Water Security, a new Value Potentially Affected tool will analyze how water risks can affect the financial value of assets.
  • Respond via customized response actions that are tailored recommendations for either a specific site or portfolio of sites. Initially boasting 130 actions linked to the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Stewardship Toolkit, the responses can be filtered according to various water frameworks and platforms (e.g., Sustainable Development Goals, Ceres AquaGauge, Alliance for Water Stewardship, CDP, etc.)

An upgraded data structure and indicators

Under version 5.0, we have upgraded the data structure and risk indicators to provide what we believe to be the best available scientific data and most comprehensive coverage of physical, regulatory and reputational risks. More specifically:

  • - Physical water risks now include climate change projection data for droughts, floods and water discharge developed in collaboration with the Postdam Climate Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • - Combined multiple models on water scarcity, adding World Resources Institute Baseline Water Stress and FAO Water Stress data to the existing water depletion data from Brauman et al. 
  • - Regulatory water risk indicators have been reorganized to be better aligned with SDG 6.5 on water governance (integrated water resources management)
  • - By partnering with RepRisk and GlobeScan reputational water risks include additional data to highlight the potential for social tensions and lack of corporate trust to affect water challenges

New local high resolution data 
The updgraded version of the tool contains new high resolution data for over 12 countries. By incorporating local datasets at a finer-scale, users will be able to have country-specific assessments of water risk. We have used the best available, peer reviewed, nationally consistent data to develop local water risk indicators at a higher resolution, but using the same assessment framework as the global risk indicators. As more datasets are made available, and updates to existing datasets are made, we will periodically update and expand these local high resolution datasets. For more information on the local risk indicators used in each high resolution dataset, please check the Data & Methods section. 

It is important to note that the use of alternative datasets for the local higher resolution data vs the global data, with their differing metrics, units, and sclaes, means that assessments of water risk using the higher resolution data will not be directly comparable with assessments made of sites in other countries. We suggest that the higher resolution data be used to assess a portfolio of sites that fall wholly in the relevant country, and should not be used to make comparisons with sites in other countries. When sites are entered into the Water Risk Filter 5.0, users are able to chose whether to use the global data or the local higher resolution data.

A new response section coming live soon
The Water Risk Filter has long had a mitigation toolbox section dedicated to exploring actions. However, the new Response section will dynamically link the water risk assessment results for any given site (or a portfolio of sites) to customized risk responses (i.e., risk mitigation actions). These actions are triggered by specific combinations of basin and operational water risk exposure, and the general level of sophistication that a given site has in its water stewardship journey. They are also split out into actions that a given site can undertake (e.g., site managers), as well as actions that a supporting entity (e.g., corporate headquarters) can implement for its operations.

All the actions are linked to an array of different water stewardship frameworks ranging from the Alliance for Water Stewardship and CDP Water Security to Ceres’ AquaGauge and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, each action is also hyperlinked to the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Stewardship Toolkit, thereby enabling users to access the latest reports, case studies and guidance to implement responses.

A new valuation section coming live soon
In 2015, WWF, in conjunction with IFC, put out a report that provided a framework for valuing water. This framework is now being incorporated into the Water Risk Filter to provide guidance to those seeking to convert risk into value. In addition, the new valuation section will link to the Bellagio Principles on Valuing Water, point out relevant guidance materials, and distinguish some of the “valuation tools” (or calculators) that have emerged, thereby helping people to find the right one.

WWF is also adding its own valuation tool into the mix: Value Potentially Affected tool. This new tool will draw from the Water Risk Assessment results, and combine likely events with potential financial impacts. Powered by CDP Water Security, the Value Potentially Affected tool will ultimately help to illustrate how water risk events can affect financial statements: from revenue loss due to droughts to depreciation of assets due to floods.