Acute and chronic water scarcity impacts four billion people, a number likely to climb with population growth and increasing demand for food and energy production. Chronic water insecurity and long-term trends are well studied at the global and regional level; however, there have not been adequate systems in place for routinely monitoring acute water scarcity. To address this gap, we developed a monthly monitoring system that computes annual water availability per capita based on hydrologic data from the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) Land Data Assimilation System (FLDAS) and gridded population data from WorldPop. The monitoring system yields maps of acute water scarcity using monthly Falkenmark classifications and departures from the long-term mean classification. These maps are designed to serve FEWS NET monitoring objectives; however, the underlying data are publicly available and can support research on the roles of population and hydrologic change on water scarcity at sub-annual and sub-national scales.
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Originally published 10-02-2019