Download Data

Water Depletion and WaterGap3 Basins

Water depletion is a measure of the fraction of available renewable water consumptively used by human activities within a watershed. Our characterization of water depletion uses calculations from WaterGAP3 to assess long-term average annual consumed fraction of renewably available water, then integrates seasonal depletion and dry-year depletion, also based on WaterGAP3 calculations, with average annual depletion into a unified scale. There are 8 water depletion categories: <5% depleted, 5-25% depleted, 25-50% depleted, 50-75% depleted, dry-year depleted, seasonally depleted, 75-100% depleted, and >100% depleted. For data reliability reasons, we include only the 15,091 watersheds larger than 1,000 km2, which constitute 90% of total land area. A large number of small coastal watersheds are excluded. Detailed information can be found in the open-access paper “Water Depletion: An improved metric for incorporating seasonal and dry-year water scarcity into water risk assessments” online at Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene <>


Brauman, KA, BD Richter, S Postel, M Malby, M Flörke. (2016) “Water Depletion: An improved metric for incorporating seasonal and dry-year water scarcity into water risk assessments.” Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Doi:


Direct questions by email to or

For additional information regarding publications and research, visit or

Data Products:

The following data products are included:

WaterGAP 3 basins (shapefile)

  • Annual water depletion categories
    • <5%
    • 5-25%
    • Dry-Year
    • Seasonal
    • 75-100%
    • >100%
  • ContUID : Continent-based unique basin ID
  • SubBas_ID: Unique basin ID, by continent (not globally unique)

Annual water depletion (geotiff)

Annual water depletion categories

1= <5%
2= 5-25%
5= Dry-Year
6= Seasonal
7= 75-100%
8= >100%


  • Geotiff: Five-arc-minute by five-arc-minute resolution (~10km x 10km at equator)
  • Shapefile contains 15,084 feature basins. Basins of area smaller than 1,000 km2 were omitted from this study, and are not included.

Map Projection:

  • Data presented as five-arc-minute, 4320 x 2160 cell grid
  • Spatial Reference: GCS_WGS_1984
  • Datum: D_WGS_1984
  • Cell size: 0.083333 degrees
  • Layer extent:
    • Top : Geotiff: 90, Shapefile: 83.249970
    • Left: Geotiff: -180, Shapefile: -179.916667
    • Right: Geotiff: 180, Shapefile: 179.999856
    • Bottom: Geotiff: -90, Shapefile: -54.833289


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Data may be freely downloaded for research, study, or teaching, but must be cited appropriately.  Re-release of the data, or incorporation of the data into a commercial product, is allowed only with explicit permission.  If you would like to request permission to use EarthStat data for another purpose, please contact us at