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AQUASTAT datasets

 Main Database
 Irrigated crop calendars
 Sub-national irrigation areas
 Dams database
 Institutions database
 Water investment envelopes
        & project portfolios in Africa

 Investment costs in irrigation
 River sediment yields

AQUASTAT consists of data, analyses and visualizations. A common misconception is that the only data in AQUASTAT is in its Main Database, because in some cases it can be admittedly difficult to find the data in its most disaggregated state. This page serves to provide an explanation of all those 'upstream' data in AQUASTAT, with direct links, and relevant metadata. The data on this page is then used to generate all the analyses and tables and maps on the AQUASTAT website, accessible from the left menu.

Analysts downloading information from this page are cautioned: Please do keep in mind that all data is generated/collected within a certain context, and this allows for certain usability criteria. Please make sure to understand the limitations of each dataset you use. Links to the pages that provide the context for each dataset are provided below in the section "Additional resources".



Main Database

Information type:

Abstract:

The AQUASTAT database can be queried on-line and the query results can be downloaded in CSV (table or flat) format. The current database regroups data per 5-year period and shows for each variable the value for the most recent year during that period, if available. For example, if for the period 2003-2007 data are available for the year 2004 and for the year 2006, then the value for the year 2006 is shown. Also, for many variables no time series can be made available yet due to lack of sufficient data.

Data for the variable [4313] "Area equipped for irrigation: total" is collected by and available in both AQUASTAT and FAOSTAT and harmonization between AQUASTAT and FAOSTAT takes place on a regular basis to ensure consistency between the two. The difference between the two is that AQUASTAT only enters data for the year given in the reference, while FAOSTAT fills all years from 1961 onwards by inter- and extrapolation from the common data-points. Thus, time series on this variable can be found under FAOSTAT land, choosing the last variable in "items": Total area equipped for irrigation. For other non-water related time-series on food and agriculture see the FAOSTAT home page.

Data quality:

AQUASTAT is committed to maximizing the quality and international comparability of the data in its Main Database. In order to be able to correctly interpret the information provided by countries, AQUASTAT uses questionnaires and prepares guidelines with detailed definitions and instructions, implements projects to strengthen national capacities, and holds workshops to clarify some of the more complex data concepts.

Examples:

  • A Questionnaire and Guidelines have been prepared for the updating of the data and country profiles. Country profiles are prepared for countries in Africa, Asia, Southern America, Central America and the Caribbean. They are not prepared for countries in Europe, Northern America (except Mexico) and Oceania.
  • The project "Strengthening national water monitoring capacities, with emphasis on agricultural water management" is an example of AQUASTAT's contribution to capacity development. The resulting report Monitoring agricultural water use at country level - Experiences of a pilot project in Benin and Ethiopia summarizes the results and lessons learned of the project.
  • Materials related to one of the workshops, the Expert workshop on water resource and use assessment methodologies in Latin America, can be found here.

Every data in AQUASTAT goes through a thorough validation process:

  • Before uploading, data is compared to other variables to ensure it is logically correct (in other words: 1+2=3) and whether the reference used is not leading back to AQUASTAT itself. In other words, AQUASTAT frequently finds data for 2014, which is really AQUASTAT data for 2000 with the year changed (most probably when the data was harvested).
  • During uploading into the Main Database, another validation process takes place, using a set of about 300 validation rules. Of these, about 100 rules are obligatory rules, which means that if the data-point doesn't obey this rule, the validation process cannot go on. For example, the cultivated area of a country cannot be larger than the total area of the country. The other set of about 200 validation rules are warning signs for the person doing the validation. For example, in general the area equipped for irrigation using surface irrigation technology is at least half of the total area equipped for irrigation. However, in some countries the localized irrigation area or the sprinkler irrigation area might be larger than the surface irrigation area. If this is the case, then a warning pops up during validation for the analyst to check whether for this country it is possible. Also during the validation process each new data-point is compared to other data already available for this variable in other years or in the same year. If it is impossible to harmonize or reconcile the different data, then one or the other data-point has to be deleted from the database.
  • See this picture and this page for more challenges with regards to data.

Update frequency:

Varies by Main Database category and sub-category:

  1. Geography and population category: Every year (through FAOSTAT for land use and population and undernourishment, World Bank for GDP, UNDP for HDI and GII).
  2. Water resources category: These are long-term average annual values and therefore remain the same over the years. A comprehensive review had been undertaken in 2014.
  3. Water use category and Irrigation and drainage development category: For Africa, Southern and Central America & Caribbean, and Asia: between 1 and 10 years, depending on data availability which is checked at least every 5 years for each country, and with a thorough update (full dataset) every 10 years together with the country profile update. For Europe, Northern America, Australia and New Zealand: depends on data availability from Eurostat and OECD.
  4. Updates of data for some specific sub-categories are being done in collaboration with others, as and when data become available, such as: wastewater sub-category in collaboration with IWMI; conservation agriculture sub-category in collaboration with Conservation Agriculture expert groups; access to improved drinking water source sub-category data are provided by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.
  5. Some of the variables are updated during major review exercises (see the other datasets below).

Scale:

200 countries, 177 variables, 55 years (~400 000 data-points).

Additional resources:

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT Main Database. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Database accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Irrigated crop calendars

Information type:

  • All info for all countries - Excel spreadsheet

  • Excel spreadsheet by country:

Abstract:

A first review on irrigation water requirement and withdrawal took place around the year 2000 within the framework of the preparation of FAO's global perspective study "World agriculture: towards 2015/2030" which included 90 developing countries and countries in transition. In 2012, AQUASTAT undertook an update. The spatial coverage of the data in the updated review consists of 165 countries (more than 80% of the countries in existence as of 2012), corresponding to those practising irrigation and for which data on irrigated areas and on irrigated crops were available.

Irrigated crop calendars, along with their respective narratives, are available via the dropdown menu above. The first file in the dropdown contains all the countries in one file, using different sheets. Please note that these calendars are the most updated ones. For the specific calendars used in the 2012 review (older for some countries), please check the annexes of the downloadable report.

Data Quality:

Data availability and data reliability vary from one country to the other. To get more background, reference is made to the Discussion page of the above mentioned review.

Update frequency:

Continuous, as part of country updates.

Scale:

~60 crops in ~170 countries, distributed by month.

Additional resources:

The irrigated cropping calendars are part of a large analysis conducted over several years. Please see the Irrigation water use page for greater details.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT - Irrigated crop calendars. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Sub-national irrigation

Information type:

  • All info for all countries - Excel spreadsheet

  • Excel spreadsheet by country:

  • Spatial data (many types)

Abstract:

The Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) includes sub-national irrigation statistics for most countries. The target year for the statistics is the year 2005. The spatial resolution of the map is 5 minutes. A description on how the map is generated is provided in the Methodology page.

The data listed by country is available in the above country Excel files, containing sub-national information on: (i) Area equipped for irrigation by source of water; (ii) Area actually irrigated by source of water. The global spreadsheet contains, in addition to these areas, for each country information on consumptive water use by source of water.

Data Quality:

The data accuracy is discussed in depth in the Map quality page.

Update frequency:

Sporadic. Data is gathered continuously by AQUASTAT and partners, and when enough data is gathered to substantiate an update, this is performed. More information about the update history is provided in the History page.

Scale:

>15 000 national and sub-national administrative units, 12 variables.

Additional resources:

The sub-national irrigation areas are part of a large analysis conducted over several years, in collaboration with the University of Kassel during 2000-2004, the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main during 2004-2009 and the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn since 2009. Please see the Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) page for more details.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT - Global Map of Irrigation Areas. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Dams database

Information type:

  • Global CSV file

  • Excel spreadsheet by country:

Abstract:

Information on dams is gathered from each country during the country update processes. The existing list of dams is provided with the request to add dams that have been built since the last update and/or to add missing information (especially on coordinates), if it has become available. The dams mostly consist of large dams, but where small dams are provided, they are included for completeness.

Data Quality:

Since the dams are collected in discrete chunks, accuracy varies substantially from country to country. Data is checked manually to correct against gross mistakes, although the quality does remain variable.

Update frequency:

Continuous, whenever new data becomes available.

Scale:

~14 000 dams in 156 countries.

Additional resources:

For more information, please see the Dams - Geo-referenced database page.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT - Georeferenced dams database. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Institutions database

Information type:

Abstract:

Information on the main institutions dealing with water resources for agriculture and rural development is gathered in each country during the country update processes. The existing list of institutions is then provided with the request to add institutions that have come into existence since the last update, to delete institutions that don't exist anymore (and, if applicable, its successor) and/or to add missing information for existing institutions. All institutions are recorded in the institution database.

Data Quality:

Institutions are fully validated at the time of the data collection, but as time proceeds, the institutional framework within countries is likely to change, and these changes are not reflected in the database until the next update round.

Update frequency:

Continuous, whenever new data becomes available, but mainly during the country update, which takes place once every 5 years at the most.

Scale:

~1 000 institutions within 117 countries.

Additional resources:

The institutional framework containing more qualitative information is given in each country profile. This information can be quickly accessed through the Institutional framework page.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT Institutions database. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Water-related investment envelopes and project portfolios
        in Africa

Information type:

  • Water-related investment envelopes
    Excel spreadsheets by country:
      

  • Water-related project portfolios
    Excel spreadsheets by country:
      

Abstract:

A conference was held in 2008 to examine the issue of water resources in Africa in the context of higher demand from the agriculture and energy sectors and climate change. The increase in energy costs provides further justification for the development of alternative sources of energy, in particular hydropower. The development of African agriculture, which is essentially rainfed, will also depend on expanding and improving irrigation in the face of a growing population.

National Investment Briefs (NIBs) were prepared for all African countries with estimated investment needs in water for agriculture and energy based on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The NIBs contain information about national investment needs, trade, climate change and policies for water, agriculture and energy in each of the then 53 African countries.

The preparation of the above Excel files on water-related investment envelopes and water-related project portfolios was part of the preparation of the NIBs.

Data Quality:

A highly participatory approach was used for the compilation of the NIBs, which consisted in a series of consultations in order to achieve an updated and reliable insight on the water resources and uses for agriculture and energy in each African country. More details about the process are available on this page.

Update frequency:

One-time exercise, which was done in 2008; it is therefore extraordinarily outdated, but is kept online at users' requests.

Scale:

53 country envelopes and project portfolios; 5 regional envelopes.

Additional resources:

For more information, see the Water-related investment envelopes and project portfolios for Africa page.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT, FAO's global water information system. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Investment costs in irrigation

Information type:

Abstract:

In 2003, FAO conducted a desk study collecting data on irrigation projects from various sources, with the FAO Investment Centre and the World Bank as the major data sources. Project appraisal reports, i.e. ex-ante cost estimates, represent the bulk of the sources of information of the study. Several hundreds of projects were studied, and of these, 248 projects based in 16 African, 13 Asian and 3 American countries were screened more in detail and investment costs were analysed and presented in a standard format.

Data Quality:

Quality varies, mostly because of probable errors in the original documents.

Update frequency:

One-time exercise, which was done in 2003; it is therefore extraordinarily outdated, but is kept online at users' requests.

Scale:

248 projects in 32 countries.

Additional resources:

For more information, please see the Database on investment costs in irrigation page.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT, FAO's global water information system. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



Global river sediment yields database

Information type:

Note: The asset used to be an ASP database while it was live. Now, the asset is no longer updated, and so the entire contents are only available as an Excel spreadsheet.

Abstract:

This database contains data on annual sediment yields in worldwide rivers and reservoirs, searchable by river, country and continent. The database was compiled from different sources by HR Wallingford, UK, on behalf of the FAO Land and Water Development Division. This data is not updated.

Data Quality:

Validation was performed at the time of the study, but the information is now outdated.

Update frequency:

One-time exercise, which was done in 2000; it is therefore extraordinarily outdated, but is kept online at users' requests.

Scale:

~850 points on ~560 rivers in 78 countries.

Additional resources

See additional tabs with notes and references provided in the Excel file.

Quote as:

FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT, FAO's global water information system. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].



     
   
   
       
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