Sophisticated, process-based modelling of baseline and scenario water quantity, quality, soil erosion and sediment transport. Operational  since 1998.

Access PSS here (V2.x scientist user level, free for non-commercial uses. Simply create an account)

Access PSS here (V2.x superuser, licensed), V1 here

Access PSS here (V2.x hyperuser, licensed), V1 here

Access PSS here (V2.x megauser, licensed), V1 here

Developers: King's College London (applications, data, models), AmbioTEK (software, data, models)

Audience: Conservation and development NGOs, GO and NGO Policy analysts, agriculture and industry (e.g. extractives), education and academic research.

Focus: WaterWorld is a testbed for the development and implementation of land and water related policies for sites and regions globally, enabling their intended and unintended consequences to be tested in silico before they are tested in vivo. WaterWorld can also be used to understand the hydrological and water resources baseline and water risk factors associated with specific activities under current conditions and under scenarios for land use, land management and climate change. It incorporates detailed spatial datasets at 1-square km and 1 hectare resolution for the entire world, spatial models for biophysical and socio-economic processes along with scenarios for climate, land use and economic change. A series of interventions (policy options) are available which can be implemented and their consequences traced through the socio-economic and biophysical systems. The model integrates with a range of geobrowsers for immersive visualisation of outcomes.  

Though we provide input data for application of this model anywhere globally (from remote sensing and other global sources) users can also use this model with their own datasets.  Application with the provided datasets takes only half an hour and requires no GIS capacity.  Bringing in your own datasets will take much longer depending on the availability, level of processing, format and consistency of those datasets and also requires GIS capacity.

Typical applications include, water resources assessment, water security analysis and hydrological ecosystem services accounting.  Also climate impacts analysis and land and water management. WaterWorld connects with the following tools: WEAP, AQUEDUCT, TESSA.

Example applications | Training videos | Need an expert to apply this tool for you

Geographical coverage: global

Spatial resolution: 10 degree tiles, countries and major basins @ 1km resolution. 1 degree tiles @ 1-hectare resolution. Sub-basins or local administrative areas @ 10m resolution (licensed).

Temporal resolution: Monthly for baseline (1950-2000) and scenario

Development status: 

History: TAMMOD developed 1998, modified for FIESTA model 2004, modified for AGUAANDES 2007 and then WATERWORLD 2008

Version 1: completed 2007

Version 2: completed 2012

Version 3: in beta  - Let us know of new features you would find useful


The version 1 model has a basic water balance (wind driven rainfall+fog - actual ET accumulated downstream as runoff) with land use and climate scenarios, see updates here

Access Previous version 1 

Version 2 has all the components of version 1 but also incorporates soil erosion, transportation, deposition and a snow and ice model as well as policy options for land management, see updates here

Access Current version 2

Version 3 is in development and contains all the components of version 2 and also a subsurface stores and fluxes module.

Key users: Valuing the Arc project, Birdlife International (DEFRA), Conservation International, RSPB International, see here

Profiled by: CGIAR, WLE, climateplanning.org, Birdlife International, CCBA Standards

Documentation: Model and data documentation for version 1 can be found here and system (interface and functionality) documentation is here. A presentation on the science behind the PSS can be found here (English) and here (Spanish) [opens in Google docs viewer]. Download:  (EN, ES). A powerpoint demo of the system functionality is here (English) and here (Spanish) [opens in Google docs viewer]. Download: (EN, ES).  Documentation for version 2 is here

Key references: Model description: Mulligan and Burke (2005); Bruijnzeel, Mulligan and Scatena (2011); Mulligan (2013) Example applications:  Mulligan et al. (2010); Bruijnzeel, Mulligan and Scatena (2011); van Soesbergen and Mulligan (2013)

Other WaterWorld publications

Validation: WaterWorld has been validated by the modelling team in a number of studies (see Mulligan and Burke (2005); Bruijnzeel, Mulligan and Scatena (2011). We make the model easy to apply anywhere globally and expect our users to also verify and validate simulation outcomes in their own study sites.  As model developers we cannot validate these models for every study site and application that users may have: it is thus the responsibility of those applying these models to validate them for their own application and study site. The FreeStation project can provide equipment designs to help with this.

Intellectual property: Please do not redistribute on the internet any data or results from these systems in raw GIS form without prior permission from us as we need to ensure that our data provider's licenses are adhered to.  If you intend to publish results from this system in the academic literature please send a draft of the paper to us before submission so that we can help ensure that the interpretation is appropriate.  If you intend to use this system extensively to deliver the outputs of a funded research or consultancy project, please talk to us before submitting the bid or proposal. To contact us: click here.

Liability: King's College London and AmbioTEK CIC provide these systems without warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  We shall not be made liable for any consequential, incidental, indirect, special, punitive or exemplary damages resulting from the use of this software.