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What we're reading

Our approach is situated in the academic tradition of using peer-reviewed research and empirical data. Here, we provide some of the papers that inform our current thinking. They're organised thematically and updated periodically.

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General reading

Blueprint for Acceleration: Sustainable Development Goal 6 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation 2023 (UN, 2023) 


State of global water resources Report 2022 (WMO, 2023) 

Lost Water: Challenges and Opportunities (Burke et al., S&P, 2013)

Future global urban water scarcity and potential solutions (He et al., 2021)

Aqueduct 4.0: Updated Decision-Relevant Global Water Risk Indicators (Kuzma, WRI, 2023) 

Remote sensing 

Satellites reveal widespread decline in global lake water storage (Yao et al., 2023)

High-resolution mapping of global surface water and its long-term changes (Pekel et al., 2016)

High-resolution mapping of the world's reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management (Lehner et al., 2011) 

Remotely sensed reservoir water storage dynamics (1984–2015) and the influence of climate variability and management at a global scale (Hou, et al, 2022)

Generating global crop distribution maps: From census to grid (SPAM2000 in You et al., 2014)

Remote Sensing Techniques to Assess Water Quality (Ritchie et al., 2003) 

Simultaneous retrieval of selected optical water quality indicators from Landsat-8, Sentinel-2, and Sentinel-3 (Pahlevan et al., 2022)

Assessing the utility of remote sensing data to accurately estimate changes in groundwater storage (Ahamed et al., 2022)

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mission River Database (SWORD): A Global River Network for Satellite Data Products (Altenau et al., 2021)

Measuring in situ 

A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities (Conrad & Hilchey, 2010) 

Community-based Environmental Planning: Operational Dilemmas, Planning Principles and Possible Remedies (Lane & McDonald, 2005)

Contextual data 


Putting water strategy into context: A practical guide to connect corporate strategic objectives to local water context. WWF (Dobson & Morgan, 2021)

Exploring the case for corporate context-based water targets (Gillespy et al., 2017)

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Water quality 

Science Based Targets Network Technical Guidance: Step 3 Freshwater: Measure, Set & Disclose (Dilks et al., 2023) 

A review of water quality index models and their use for assessing surface water quality (Uddin et al., 2021)

Global river water quality under climate change and hydroclimatic extremes (van Vliet et al., 2023) 


Results-based funding working papers (Uptime, 2023)

Understanding the WASH system and its building blocks. IRC Working Paper on Building strong WASH systems for the SDGs (Huston & Moriarty, 2018)

New Expectations & Game-Changing Ambitions for the Water Action Decade (WASH4Work, 2023)

Collective action 

“The 100 basins”: Mapping of Collective Action Opportunities for Water Stewardship (Camargo et al., 2023) 


Turning the Tide: A Call to Collective Action (Global Commission on the Economics of Water, 2023) 

Guide to Water-Related Collective Action (Greenwood et al., CEO Water Mandate, 2013)

Water valuation 


High cost of cheap water: The true value of water and freshwater ecosystems to people and planet (WWF, 2023) 


Achieving abundance: Understanding the cost of a sustainable water future (Strong et al., WRI, 2020) 

Valuing water for sustainable development: Measurement and governance must advance together (Garrick et al., 2017)

A review of water valuation metrics: Supporting sustainable water use in manufacturing (Das et al., 2023) 

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2021: Valuing Water (UNESCO, 2021)

The price and value of water: An economic review (Grafton et al., 2023) 

Rethinking the economics of water: an assessment (Garrick, Hanemann & Hepburn, 2020)

Dynamic water pricing and the risk adjusted user cost (Chu & Grafton, 2021)

The paradox of water pricing: dichotomies, dilemmas, and decisions (Grafton, Chu & Wyrwoll, 2020)

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