Data Synthesis System for World Water Resources


Data Synthesis System Description

The Data Synthesis System for World Water Resources (DSS) is an initiative of the World Water Assessment Program supported through the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizationís International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO/IHP).The DSS is an operational, digital information system for water resource assessment cast within a geographic information system framework accessible via the World Wide Web.The system includes a broad suite of spatial and statistical data encompassing point scale and gridded socioeconomic and biogeophysical products for data exploration and download.This data is organized according to water indicator themes and is presented in the spatial context of the river basin to analyze the changing nature of water in relation to human needs and activities at the global, regional and case study scales.


The DSS provides tools for analyzing river basin, sub-basin and grid cell characteristics for rapid retrieval of tabular and thematic data.Interactive navigation maps are provided for easy geographic access to spatial data.In addition, full on-line help and documentation is available to aide the user in navigating the system.All data is integrated with a meta-data system to identify, share and assemble DSS data sets in collaboration with other UNESCO and WWAP partners.A more detailed description of the data layers and statistical information contained in the DSS is given in the Citations section organized by indicator theme.


Background on the World Water Assessment Programme


The WWAP, building on the achievements of the many previous endeavors, focuses on assessing the developing situation as regards freshwater throughout the world. The primary output of the WWAP is the periodic World Water Development Report (WWDR).The recommendations from the WWDR will include capacity building to improve country-level assessment, with emphasis on developing countries. This will include the building of capacity in education and training, in monitoring and database science and technology and in assessment-related institutional management. The Programme will identify situations of water crisis and will thus provide guidance for donor agencies and will provide the knowledge and understanding necessary as the basis for further capacity building.


The Programme focuses on terrestrial freshwater, but will link with the marine near-shore environments and coastal zone regions as principal sinks for land-based sources of pollution and sedimentation and as areas where the threat of flooding and the potential impact of sea level rise on freshwater resources is particularly acute.


The Programme, including the new WWDR, is undertaken by the UN agencies concerned aided by a Trust Fund, donors providing support in cash and in kind either through specific agencies or through the Trust Fund. UNESCO currently hosts the WWAP Secretariat and manages the FUND at its Headquarters in Paris.


The Programme serves as an "umbrella" for coordination of existing UN initiatives within the freshwater assessment sphere. In this regard it will link strongly with the data and information systems of the UN agencies, for example GRID, GEMS-Water, the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) of UNEP, the Global Runoff Data Center (GRDC) of WMO, AQUASTAT of FAO, the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) being established by WMO and UNESCO, the water supply and sanitation databases of WHO and UNICEF and the databases of the World Bank system.