Water Security Guidance Document

The Water Security Guidance Document, published March 2012, is the final product of the four-year (2008-2012) Water Security project. This free document has been developed for small communities to assess risk to water security in their watershed, but many of the concepts and issues are applicable at larger scales. The Water Security Guidance Document contains a broad range of information for both experts and non-experts.

The purpose of the Water Security Guidance Document is to:

i) Define the concept of water security, and document multiple perspectives on this concept (Part I)
ii) Present methods for small water system managers to assess potential risks to water security (Part II)
iii) Present possible responses to these risks, focusing on governance-based strategies (Part III)

You can download the entire Water Security Guidance Document here, or select individual sections from the list below:


Part I introduces the concept of water security, outlining multiple perspectives on water security, and current approaches used to assess water security. (This section also includes a Manual user-guide, Glossary of Terms and List of Acronyms)

Part I, Section 1: Defining and Assessing Water Security*
* Includes excerpts from “Water Security: Debating an emerging paradigm” by Christina Cook and Karen Bakker (2012). Global Environmental Change 22(1), 94-102. Reproduced with permission from Elsevier Ltd.


Part II comprises step-by-step guides to applying each component of the water security assessment framework including risk assessment, vulnerability scoring, current status, and groundwater quality mapping. Although these tools can be used independently, they can also be applied in combination, depending on the needs and resources of the community. It is important to note that these concepts are deeply interconnected, and together form a comprehensive assessment of overall water security.

Part II, Section 2 – Water Security Risk Assessment (WSRA)
Part II, Section 3 – Water Security Risk Scoring Method
Part II, Section 4 – Water Security Status Indicators (WSSI)
Part II, Section 5 – Mapping the Likelihood of Occurrence of a Groundwater Contaminant


Part III outlines some approaches developed during the project for water managers to manage risk to water security.

Part III, Section 6 – Working towards water security: Fostering good governance practices through adaptive management
Part III, Section 7 – Boil Water Advisory Protocol


Appendix A – Project Overview – Gives an overview of the project including research team and project partners.
Appendix B – Current list of Water Security Project Publications – Lists the project-related outreach activities (including peer reviewed journal articles, policy reports, conference and workshop presentations, and advisory roles). Please note that a more up-to-date version of the project publications can be found here.