About the Interactive Database

In 2014, the CEO Water Mandate published the Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines - in partnership with CDP, World Resources Institute, and PwC. The Guidelines aim to encourage and facilitate harmonized, effective corporate water reporting. They offer a variety of metrics and qualitative approaches addressing a range of water-related topics and issues that companies report as well as a process for determining which water-related topics are relevant.

The Guidelines emphasize that a company’s risks, opportunities, and impacts differ greatly depending on the river basin context(s) in which it operates. For example, a thousand gallons of water used in a water-rich region will likely have substantially less impact on ecosystems and people than a thousand gallons used in a water-scarce region. Thus, where possible, companies seek to report location-specific information in order to shed light on where water-related challenges are greatest and where action should be prioritized.

However, in the past, there has been no common nomenclature for river basin names or delineations for their boundaries on a global scale. This means that, for example, two companies might report on their water use in the Yellow River Basin, but be referring to two different (albeit likely overlapping) geographic areas, thus leading to results that are confusing for, and of limited use, to stakeholders. Understanding this deficiency, as part of the development of these Guidelines, the CEO Water Mandate - in collaboration with World Resources Institute - has developed the Interactive Database of the World’s River Basins as an extension of the Guidelines.

This database allows companies to enter the coordinates of their (and their suppliers’) operations and understand in what river basins they are located (using a newly developed common nomenclature) and the boundaries of those river basins. Alternatively, companies can use interactive maps to manually locate their facilities on a map and learn more about the river basins in which they are located. For interested companies, the newly developed common nomenclature will also be incorporated by CDP into their water questionnaire.

The data used in the Interactive Database make use boundary delineations from HydroSHEDS (accessed in April 2014) and names available in Watersheds of the World and Global Runoff Data Center (GRDC). The selection of river basins has been limited to those above a certain threshold size to limit the number of very small river basins. For each river basin the delineation, name, and major cities and towns it includes are provided.

For any questions or feedback regarding the Interactive Database, please contact Lillian Holmes (lholmes@pacinst.org).


Since these are global datasets, there may be some errors or deviations from local norms with respect to the basin boundaries. We welcome feedback on how to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the Interactive Database.

Suggested Citation

CEO Water Mandate. 2016. Interactive Database of the World's River Basins. Web. http://ceowatermandate.org/riverbasins.

This product incorporates data from the HydroSHEDS database which is © World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (2006-2013) and has been used herein under license. WWF has not evaluated the data as altered and incorporated within the Interactive Database of the World's River Basins, and therefore gives no warranty regarding its accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability for any particular purpose. Portions of the HydroSHEDS database incorporate data which are the intellectual property rights of © USGS (2006-2008), NASA (2000-2005), ESRI (1992-1998), CIAT (2004-2006), UNEP-WCMC (1993), WWF (2004), Commonwealth of Australia (2007), and Her Royal Majesty and the British Crown and are used under license. The HydroSHEDS database and more information are available at:

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