Relevant Material

Before starting this project it is necessary to gather relevant material.

A large amount of data and knowledge is available about water generally and freshwater specifically – much of it on the internet. But nevertheless we know too little. The data is far from complete and it is lacking in accuracy, especially in developing countries. It is therefore difficult for decision makers to base policies and programmes on the available evidence.

Among the sources for data and knowledge about water are:

Water Portal on Wikipedia –
USGS: Water Science School  of the U.S. Geological Survey –
The World’s Water, Website of the Pacific Institute – –, in PDF or Excel format.
World Resource Institute – Aqueduct –
FAO – Aquastat –

“The Atlas of Water. Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource”. Second Edition, 2009. Maggie Black and Jannet King
The Worlds Water, Volume 7. The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. 2013. Kindle Edition. Editor Peter Gleick
The World’s Water, Volume 8. The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. 2014. Editor Peter Gleick
The State of the World Atlas. Ninth Edition, 2014. Dan Smith

All of the Internet data source websites present the data in the form of tables. Many of them offer the possibility to download the data in the form of csv and/or xls files.

I depend heavily on Tableau Pro for analysis and visualization of data. Unfortunately many of the available data tables are not in a format that lends itself to analysis in Tableau. This is often the case with time series. Data in the form of cross tables has to be converted into flat tables before being opened into Tableau.

Many datasource websites offer the possibility to present/visualize the data in the form of charts and/or maps. These are often of very high quality. As an example I mention a visualization in Aqueduct:

“Measuring, mapping and understanding water risks around the globe.” -

This is a set of interactive maps showing water risks by country and river basin. This set effectively increases the understanding of water risks and can thus support decision making and actions.

Other Aqueduct visualizations are:

“Water Stress by Most Populous River Basins”
Aqueduct Country and River Basin Rankings
Agricultural Exposure to Water Stress
“Water Stress by Country”
This map shows the average exposure of water users in each country to baseline water stress, the ratio of total withdrawals to total renewable supply in a given area. A higher percentage means more water users are competing for limited water supplies.

The available data sources may contain enough data and visualizations on which to base decisions and actions that may be sufficient to solve the problem of freshwater supply crises.  If that is the case  it may not be necessary to add Tableau analyzes and visualizations.

But I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of analyzes and visualizations of the relationships between freshwater variables as well as between freshwater variables and variables from other areas, for example economy, health, culture,…

I have not been able to find any Tableau analyzes or visualizations regarding freshwater supply crises.

I shall therefore go ahead with a freshwater supply crises project using Tableau and to begin with I shall use data from Aquastat.

Aquastat contains a large number of variables that can be used to generate tables distributed according to countries, regions and time.

I shall begin by generating data tables in Aquastat and transferring them to Tableau by the following steps:

Open Aquastat database

Select Variables

Select Countries or Periods

Select Latest values only

Deselect Value Years – to avoid time series in the table

Select Options



Select Search

Download the data table as .csv to Excel

Copy the data table from Excel

Open DataWrangler –

Paste the data table to DataWrangler

Wrangle the data table

Export the data table from DataWrangler as tab-separated values (.tsv)

Copy the data table from DataWrangler to Excel

Modify the data table if needed

Open the data table in Tableau for analysis and visualization

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