Water availability indicator: data sources and methods, chapter 5

5. Caveats and limitations

This indicator does not account for the water stock in lakes and groundwater aquifers. As a result, water availability may be underestimated and the threat to water availability overestimated for areas relying primarily on lakes, oceans or other water sources to satisfy human water demand. Where the threat is high, there are longer-term risks that withdrawal exceeds recharge for these water bodies.

This indicator uses total water withdrawal by municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors to calculate water demand. While it provides a measure of the amount of water removed from rivers, the indicator does not report how much water is consumed (water not released directly back into the river system).

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