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Countries, regions, transboundary river basins

Latest updates:

Country profiles:
Africa: Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe (2016); Algeria, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia (2015); Morocco, Uganda (2014); Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (2013)
Eastern Europe: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation (2016); Belarus, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine (2015)
Oceania: Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (2016)
Southern America, Central America and Caribbean: All 32 countries (2015)
Northern America: Mexico (2013)

Regional overviews:
Eastern Europe (2016); Southern America, Central America and Caribbean (2016)

Transboundary river basins:
La Plata (2016); Amazon (2015)

Country profiles have been prepared for countries in Africa (2005-2016), Asia (2008-2012), Southern and Central America and the Caribbean (2015-2016), and Eastern Europe (2015-2016). They have not been prepared for countries in Northern America (except Mexico in 2013), Oceania (except Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu in 2016), and Western and Central Europe.

In this section, 147 country profiles, 6 regional overviews and 11 river basin overviews describe the state of the water resources and water use, as well as the state of agricultural water management in each of them. The aim is to describe the particularities of the country, region and river basin and the problems met in the development of the water resources and, in particular, irrigation. Irrigation trends, existing policies and legislation to water use in agriculture, possible treaties and agreements between countries as well as prospects for water management in agriculture are presented, as described in literature.

The country profiles, regional and river basin overviews are based on the information available at the time they were written and will be updated every five to ten years. For the most recent reliable country data, reference is made to the AQUASTAT Main Database.

Country information

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Use these dropdowns or, if you prefer to see all the files we have for all countries in one interface, please use our ASSET VIEWER.

Regional overviews

Regional overviews exist for six regions: 1) Eastern Europe (2016); 2) Southern America, Central America and the Caribbean (2016); 3) Central Asia (2013); 4) Southern and Eastern Asia (2012); 5) Middle East (2009); 6) Africa (2005).

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Description of selected transboundary river basins





Aral Sea
La Plata

The AQUASTAT country update methodology

AQUASTAT's information management process (Figure 1) comprises:

  • A review of literature and information at country and sub-country level.
  • Country surveys, through national resource persons, consisting of data collection and country description by means of a detailed questionnaire and guidelines. The source reference and metadata are associated with each value.
  • Critical analysis of information and data processing, with preference given to national sources and expert knowledge; the data validation and processing is supported by the AQUASTAT database management system
  • Verification and validation of transboundary water data considering all countries involved in the transboundary river basin.
  • Modelling of data by means of Geographic Information System (GIS) and water balance models for estimating unavailable data and for providing spatial data. GIS and remote sensing data are important input together with data acquired through country surveys. However, AQUASTAT reduces modelling to the strict minimum, in view of the fact that its data are known to be used by modellers to calibrate their models. For this reason also, modelled data are identified with the symbol "L" in the database to inform modellers that they should not be used for model calibration.
  • Standardization of information and data tables.
  • Responding to requests for feedback and approval from various national authorities and institutions.
  • Dissemination of information through the AQUASTAT website, as published reports and/or as CD-ROMs.
  • Incorporation of voluntary feedback from users and through cooperation with other institutions.

The AQUASTAT country update methodology

For acquiring reliable data and information, the importance of cooperating with national resource persons working in the field of water and agriculture, with good networking capabilities and a sense of responsibility, has been shown to be vital. Experience and lessons learned in global water information management show the importance of national capacities, systematic data and information collection, harmonized definitions, metadata, support for data handling in the database management system, and website properties.

The result of the long and tedious process of data collection, analysis and quality control, is that approximately 80-90 percent of the received data does not pass AQUASTAT's first round of quality control. The first manual quality checking includes: coherence in the time-series, simple calculations, variables cross-checking, comparisons with neighbouring/similar countries, verification in the original sources. The second automated cross-checking is operated during data upload in the database, using around 300 validation rules. More information on obligatory and warning validation rules is available in the Main Database section of the datasets page.

Data is discarded for a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. carelessness in the filling in of the questionnaire, for example the sum of the sub-components is different from the total
  2. problems related to the use of different definitions and terminology, which requires a lot of correspondence and research to find out what exactly is meant
  3. discovering that "new data" is actually AQUASTAT's data taken by others without attribution and maybe with the year changed
  4. or... just openly giving AQUASTAT itself as source of the data put in the questionnaire...

Especially situations 3 and 4 occur more frequently, which is symptomatic of two phenomena: an absence of substantial amounts of new water data and pressure to show "new" data no matter what. While it is true that through the use of different technologies in the field (often the example of mobile phones is given), more and more data become available, this is not really yet the case so far for data and statistical information related to water resources and their use. Most likely this is due to the fact that there is a lag between raw data collection, analysis and conclusions.

Figure 2 below is an example of the above during recent updates. Links to an example of the questionnaire and guidelines used for the country updates are available in the Main Database section of our Datasets page. More challenges can be found on this page.

Why the AQUASTAT Main Database is "empty"

Concluding remarks

The rigorous and serious process used by AQUASTAT in selecting and producing content has resulted in everyone comfortably using it and referring to it. A simple reference to AQUASTAT in their work is seen as quality assurance. Moreover, the fact that over 20 percent of the database queries are from countries querying the data for their own country also indicates how useful the database is for the countries themselves. However, considering the fact that AQUASTAT is a global national-level information system which certainly does not pretend to know exactly the in situ reality, the sole fact that is is used for domestic purposes also shows the scarcity of this type of information in general.

Finally and most importantly, the problems associated with data collection and dissemination are systematic, no country is perfect, and neither is any international agency. It is only through frequent, honest, and timely two-way communication that data inaccuracies can be iteratively identified and eliminated.

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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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