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Transboundary surface water flow visualizations

Almost two-thirds of the countries in the world have rivers flowing into their territories from upstream countries. In an effort to visualize the surface water flowing from one country to the other (note: this does not include flows to the ocean), AQUASTAT has prepared two different chart types:

  • Sankey charts, which show the flow from one country to the next as flow from the left to the right of the page. This means that in general, countries on the left are most upstream (where the flow originates), and countries on the right are where the flow reaches the ocean. The size of each bar (country) depends exclusively on the flow in and out of the country, without taking into consideration the flow resulting from endogenous precipitation (except where this flow goes to downstream countries). Some limitations apply, please see notes at the bottom of the page.
  • Network charts, which show all connections between countries, including cyclic flows.

For both chart types, line thickness represents flow, therefore thicker lines represent greater flow. For the network charts, flows have been divided by 10 for increased readability. Flows are in km3/year, and the scale for each continent is different and automatically adjusted.

Both chart types are interactive, so mouse-over and drag&drop. Have fun!





Notes on sankey plots: negative flows have been removed. This means that if 10 km3/year flow from country A to B, and 3 km3/year flow from country B to A, then only 7 km3/year are shown flowing from A to B. The other flows that were omitted because they caused cyclicity are:

  • 2.700 km3/year from Nigeria to Chad
  • 1.000 km3/year from Benin to Burkina Faso
  • 1.000 km3/year from United Republic of Tanzania to Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 0.150 km3/year from Botswana to South Africa
  • 0.718 km3/year from Pakistan to China
  • 18.00 km3/year from Romania to Hungary
  • 6.500 km3/year from Ukraine to Hungary
  • 3.000 km3/year from Norway to Sweden
  • 2.700 km3/year from Ukraine to Russian Federation
  • 2.000 km3/year from Poland to Russian Federation
  • 1.000 km3/year from Serbia to The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • 0.850 km3/year from Lithuania to Russian Federation
  • 0.670 km3/year from Latvia to Russian Federation

[Date of preparation: September 2014]

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       Quote as: FAO. 2015. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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