Factsheet #35

Shared databases and water information systems

Instrument Type


Governance Level


Governance Mode


Water management topics addressed

Drought & water scarcity
Water abstraction for irrigation and other economic activities
Water quality issues due to nutrient pollution
Water quality issues: Other reasons

Implementation requirements

Financial capacity


Human capacity


Political buy-in


Timeframe for implementation


#35: Shared databases and water information systems


Water information systems (WIS) and common databases are key mechanisms for sharing policy needs and information at river basin, country and/or international level.


In most countries, water data are commonly available for the hydrological issues (water scarcity, quantity and quality aspects), but are less common in the case of the economic and financial aspects (tariffs, infrastructure financing, etc.) and even more limited for institutional and territorial data (allocation of responsibilities, urban/rural challenges, etc.). Increased efforts are needed to communicate the reporting and analysis of water data to policy advisors and the wider public, and not simply to the research community.

Example: The database on draught of the Chilean Agroclimatic Observatory

The Chilean Agroclimatic Observatory was created in 2013 to provide a comprehensive overview on drought monitoring, collecting data and integrating information from relevant national and international databases. Raw datasets are processed and displayed through a user-friendly interface in order to provide a versatile tool for policy makers, but at the same time more advanced functions are available allowing the calculation of additional indicators through arithmetic and geo-statistical protocols. The observatory works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI).


INBO/ UNESCO (2018). The Handbook on Water Information Systems. Administration, processing and exploitation of water-related data. (p. 89). https://www.riob.org/sites/default/files/_HB-2018-SIE-BAT_web.pdf Retrieved on 22 September 2020.

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