Watershed Indicators

By Livia Bizikova, Dimple Roy, Karla Zubrycki, Karla Zubrycki on January 28, 2015

A common barrier to effective planning In watersheds around the world is the complexity of the multi-faceted issues, incomplete and inaccessible data, jurisdictional fragmentation, transboundary issues and poor communication between stakeholders.

In such a disjointed environment, the tracking and communication of data can help highlight where significant progress is being achieved, as well as where trends may be worsening.

As a solution, IISD promotes watershed indicator systems that highlight key data and serve as a common reference point for all stakeholders (e.g., agricultural groups, governments, conservation/watershed groups, non-governmental organizations). Indicators tracked can include environmental, social, and economic measures, resulting in a rich picture of status, potential linkages and progress towards sustainability.

This brochure outlines IISD’s work with indicators, and describes the expertise possessed by the organization’s staff to collaborate with partners who wish to develop indicator sets and systems to visualize data or integrate indicators into decision making. Two examples provided of successful indicator initiatives include the sustainability indicator system for Lake Balaton (Hungary) and the “Peg” community indicator system in Winnipeg, Canada.   

Guide details

Measurement, Assessment, and Modelling
Water Innovation Centre
Focus area
IISD, 2015