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