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Global Water Tool

The IPIECA Global Water Tool for Oil and Gas is a customized version of the free and easy-to-use World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Water Tool. The Tool will help oil and gas companies map their water use and assess risks for their overall global portfolio of sites considering each part of the oil and gas value chain.

The best available approach for companies to assess corporate water-related risks
How the Tool can help your company
Catering for the oil and gas industry's needs
Data sets available in the Tool
Any suggestions, comments, questions?
Webinars and audio recordings

Where are the water risks in your portfolio?

  • How many of your refinery sites are in extremely water-scarce areas and therefore at greatest risk? How will that look in the future?
  • What percentage of your production volume is currently in a water scarce area? And in 2025 and 2050?
  • How many of your sites are in countries that lack access to improved water and sanitation?

This sector specific customization (which includes the tool as well as a how-to PowerPoint presentation) can help oil and gas companies answer these questions and provide a global visualization.

The WBCSD GWT and customizations

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water Tool (WBCSD GWT) was developed by CH2M HILL under the leadership of WBCSD and launched in 2007. It has been recognized as the best available approach for companies to assess corporate water-related risks, improve decision-making, shape water management plans, and strengthen communications with internal and external stakeholders on water issues.

The WBCSD GWT has been:


What does the IPIECA Tool do?

  • Compares your company’s water use (site-by-site) with validated water, sanitation and population information.
  • Enables calculation of water consumption, efficiency and intensity metrics.
  • Establishes relative water risk in your company’s portfolio to prioritize action.
  • Creates IPIECA and GRI Water sustainability reporting indicator data, inventories, risk and performance metrics, and geographic mapping.
  • Enables effective communication with internal and external stakeholders on your company’s water issues.


How is the GWT customized for oil and gas sector?

Risk management on global water issues requires an understanding of a company’s water needs in relation to local externalities – e.g. water availability, quality, stress, access to improved water sources and sanitation.

An understanding of a company’s water needs is improved by considering each part of the oil and gas value chain: production, transport - terminals, gas processing, refining, drilling, oil sands, petrochemical and retail.

Specifics of the GWT for Oil and Gas:

  • The GWT for Oil and Gas has a different Excel workbook; consisting of eight customized inventory input sheets enabling oil and gas metric and reporting outputs.
  • Effluent quality parameter (total petroleum hydrocarbons) is included.
  • Sector-relevant intensity metrics are created.
  • External datasets employed for mapping are the same for all Global Water Tools.
  • Mapping icons for the eight main parts of the oil and gas value chain are employed. 

The data sets

There are almost 30 external data sets in the tool, and data set owners have granted WBCSD permission for use in the tool. These data sets include:

  • Water Stress index
  • Economic and Physical Water Scarcity
  • Access to Improved Water & Sanitation
  • Renewable Water Resources per person for 2025 & 2050
  • Biodiversity Hotspots

These data sets are global in their coverage and from credible publically available sources.

  • WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program
  • UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UNDESA)


  • World Resource Institute (WRI)
  • University of New Hampshire (UNH)
  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  • Conservation International (CI)

User feedback

Any suggestions, comments, questions? Write to:

Excel Tool:
Mapping Functions:

Responses to queries related to the GWT mapping functionality will be addressed by WBCSD and responses to questions related to the customized oil and gas interface or its metric outputs will be addressed through IPIECA.


To enhance the uptake and communication of the Global Water Tool for oil and gas, webinars were organized in March 2012 to provide a demo of the practical application of the tool illustrated via a hypothetical ‘Universal Oil Company’ example. Many thanks to Jan Dell (CH2MHILL) for running the webinar. The presentation used in the webinar is available to download. A recording of the webinar is available on Youtube.

For a webinar on the GEMI Local Water Tool™, please visit the GEMI website.