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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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Quick Info

2.63 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
106 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 3
Total Projects: 5
Priority SDGs: Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Water Use Efficiency (SDG 6.4)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
Protect and Restore Ecosystems (SDG 6.6)
International Cooperation and Capacity Building (SDG 6.a)
Stakeholder Participation (SDG 6.b)
Sustainable Production (SDG 12.4)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: Amazonas
Priority Industries: Fossil fuels
Power generation
Organization Types:
Bilateral and / or Intergovernmental Agency
NGO / Civil Society
Profile Completion: 91%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $5,814,283,265.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $124,095,853.00 - [2%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $174,433,727.00 - [3%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $177,479,769.00 - [3%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $4,006,884,494.00 - [69%]
  • Water Scarcity: $362,342,212.00 - [6%]
  • Water Management: $969,047,211.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Local Water Resource Governance
Water Demand and Competition among Users

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES The average annual rainfall in Bolivia is 1,124mm, which represents a contribution of 1,235km3/year. The RHTR are estimated at around 628km3. The river system is divided into three main areas: the Amazon, the La Plata river and the closed basin of Altiplano. The Amazon basin of Bolivia, bounded on the north by the Abuna river on the border with Brazil, corresponds to the upper half of the Madeira river, part of which belongs to Peru (12 per cent) and to Brazil (16 per cent). The Madeira river is formed by the confluence of four major rivers: Madre de Dios, Beni, Mamore and Itenez. The river Parapeti, originating in the Andes, flows into the Marshes of the Izozog depression where it evaporates much of its water and communicates, in times of major floods, with the San Miguel river, part of the Madeira river. Much of this contribution becomes infiltration, which recharges the basin of the Paraguay river. The basin of the River Plate in the Plurinational State of Bolivia is divided into three major subbasins. The Paraguay river itself extends into the eastern plains in the southeast, where infiltration is high. Two major tributaries of the river are located in the southeast: the Pilcomayo and the Bermejo, which includes the Rio Grande de Tarija. Two separate water systems constitute the endorheic Altiplano basin: Lake Titicaca, which drains into Lake Poopó through the Desaguadero river and communicates with the Salar de Coipasa in exceptional times of floods, and the Salar de Uyuni. The Plurinational State of Bolivia shares basins with its neighbours on its three sides, although the largest contributions come from the Madeira river basin, mainly via the Madre de Dios and Orthon from Peru and Itenez or Guaporé and Abuna from Brazil. The endorheic basin of Lake Titicaca is shared with Peru; the basins of the rivers Bermejo and Pilcomayo are shared with Argentina and Paraguay, and the Paraguay basin is shared with Brazil, although the contributions are much lower in these last basins. Regarding groundwater, in the hydrogeological basin of the Altiplano several aquifers are located with discharge to Lake Titicaca, Lake Poopó and the Uyuni Salar. Discharges into Lake Titicaca have better hydrological conditions and contain large volumes of water of good chemical quality. This quality is worse in the region of Oruro and Lake Poopó and in the area of influence of the Salar de Uyuni. In the last years, the drilling of wells for irrigation has been intensified. In the Llanos and Chaco, the potential underground is very variable. The average annual recharge through rivers and streams is estimated at between 21 and 29 million m3 and groundwater reserves are thought to be around 100 million m3. Within the endorheic Altiplano basin there is the Titicaca-Desaguadero-Poopó-Salar de Coipasa (TDPS) system, composed of the Poopó and Titicaca Lakes, the Desaguadero river (that joins the two lakes) and the Salar de Coipasa. This last represents a separate endorheic system, except in wet years, when it is connected with Lake Poopo. Lake Titicaca has a flooded area of 8,400km2, with a volume of 932km3 dammed for the average elevation of the lake (3,810m). The lake has an annual oscillation feature of around 1m, with a maximum in April and May and a minimum in December and January. Lake Poopo, at 3,686m, covers a flooded area of 1,723km2. There are five large reservoirs in the State of Bolivia, devoted primarily to the generation of electricity.

1.1.2.WATER USE In 1987, total water withdrawals were estimated at 1,240 million m3, of which 10 per cent was devoted to domestic use, 5 per cent to industry and 85 per cent to agriculture. In 1992, 40 per cent of the population lacked a water supply; the rate increased to 76 per cent in rural areas (i.e. populations of fewer than 2,000 inhabitants). For sanitation, the equivalent figures were 57 per cent and 82 per cent respectively. The low coverage of basic sanitation and potable water supply, especially in the case of the rural population, has resulted in the presence of major diseases among the population and a high infant mortality due to water-related illnesses (diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid, cholera, etc.). In large cities, and as a result of the population growth that the country has experienced in the past two decades, there is significant competition between domestic consumption and irrigation. There are also conflicts due to the pollution caused by discharges from mining and the industrial sector and the subsequent use of polluted water for household use and agriculture.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The drinking water supply and sanitation in Bolivia has improved considerably since 1990, with high investments in the sector. However, the coverage remains the lowest in South America and the quality of service is low. Political and institutional instability has contributed to the weakening of water-sector institutions at both national and local levels. Two concessions to foreign private companies in two of the three largest cities of the country (Cochabamba and Great La Paz) failed in 2000 and 2006 respectively. The second largest city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, manages its sewage system through a cooperative, which is successful in comparison with the systems of the two other major cities.

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Country Water Profile

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Organizations in Bolivia

International management of water at Titicaca lake Learn More

Promover acciones para la transición hacia una economía baja en carbono y resiliente al cambio climático en todos los niveles: países, ciudades, instituciones, empresas y ciudadanos. Learn More

Water For People exists to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments. OUR VISION A world where every person has access to reliable and safe water … Learn More

Projects in Bolivia

In Bolivia, a fourth part of the country's population (approximately, 2.7 million inhabitants) lack a safe and permanent access to water, which negatively impacts their life quality. Therefore, supporting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (Ensure access to water and … Learn More

Conserving the Amanzonian forest through payment for maintenance of environmental services, this program aims to curb deforestation and improve the quality of life for the local population. Specifically, this program finances incentives which allow for the education of the local … Learn More

Together with local partners, the Siemens Stiftung has developed a project to improve the drinking water situation in Achocalla, Bolivia. There are two parts to this cooperation project: First, a small enterprise is established to manufacture inexpensive drinking water filters … Learn More

Starbucks and Conservation International began an assessment of the water component of the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices program in 2008, focused on 2 stages in the coffee value chain: cultivating, growing and harvesting coffee using methods that avoid … Learn More

Water is key to life. In Bolivia, the second poorest country in South America, only 80% of people in rural areas have access to basic water service. To combat this, Water For People implements piped water supply systems, supports the … Learn More

Suggested Resources

View the full list of 300+ resources at the Water Stewardship Toolbox

Inform and strengthen your company’s water management strategies and allow your investors to evaluate current water management activities against detailed definitions of leading practice. Learn More

Developers: Ceres

In this Nature feature, Johan Rockstrom and co-authors argue that identifying and quantifying planetary boundaries that must not be transgressed could help prevent human activities from causing unacceptable environmental change. Learn More

This report presents analysis of the response data from a sample of 783 of the world’s largest publicly listed companies. The report is aimed at companies and investors seeking to understand how they can play their part in delivering a … Learn More

The Toolbox connects your business to the latest tools, guidance, case studies, datasets, and more most relevant to you based on your circumstances and interests. It features more than 250+ resources from dozens of organizations and is updated every week. Learn More

Developers: CEO Water Mandate, Pacific Institute

Checklist for restoring water quality in buildings left unused for a long duration. Learn More

Developers: EPA Office of Wastewater Management

Includes Immediate steps, ongoing health measures that can be taken, and responsible business practice Learn More

Based on the major combat guidelines set by the São Paulo State Government, Sabesp is fully engaged to endure COVID-19 pandemic within its operation area, which means 374 municipalities located throughout São Paulo state and home to about 28 million … Learn More

Developers: Sabesp

Best practices- Resources- Webinars on WASH/COVID-19 topics. Learn More

The Global Water Footprint Assessment Standard can be used to provide comparable quantification and robust analytics, helping corporations, governments, and researchers manage water resources and achieve greater water sustainability. Learn More

The Committee designed this document to guide the food industry and advise its sponsoring agencies in the implementation of HACCP systems. Learn More

Adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, requires significant investment in natural and built water systems. These investments present a significant opportunity to support not only water, but to provide … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

To help our partners in responding to this health crisis in their countries, we have compiled different resources and tools around COVID-19 and WASH, which include documents, videos, social media materials with messages on public health, webinar recordings, etc. Learn More

With special attention to resources for utilities, this page lists relevant guidance around water and COVID-19. Learn More

Developers: American Water Works Association

This page seeks to help water sector professionals keep informed on the attributions of the COVID-19 virus and any measures needed to protect both workers and public health, in general. Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

With private enterprises playing a critical role in contributing to the safety of their staff, it is important to change some of their core operations. This guide is meant as a stepping point to begin reopening with safety as a … Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

SAVEh is the platform through which Ambev shares its water management system free of charge with other companies, which has helped to reduce more than 40% of the company’s water consumption in the last 13 years. This water efficiency tool … Learn More

Developers: Ambev S/A

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Compass Business Tools inventory maps existing business tools against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It allows you to explore commonly used business tools that may be useful when assessing your organization’s impact on the SDGs. Learn More

In response to the challenge of quantifying the business benefits, WaterAid, Diageo, GAP Inc., and Unilever have worked with PwC and ODI to develop a practical, step-by-step guide. The guide will help companies understand the business value of their WASH … Learn More

Developers: WaterAid

The Forest Stewardship Council created the Principles of Forest Stewardship as a worldwide standard to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Learn More

The AWS Standard is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. Learn More

Developers: Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

This report explores the possibilities of scaling a circular economy, given the reality of the global economy and the complexity of multi-tier supply chains. Learn More

Developers: World Economic Forum

ILO Sectoral Policies and Governance and Tripartism Departments present four self-training modules, which adapt existing ILO training tools on OSH to provide governments, workers and employers with the necessary skills to implement the general principles contained in relevant ILO instruments. … Learn More

Companies are increasingly setting and pursing ‘water balance targets’ as part of their water stewardship strategies. The seeming simplicity of balance goals can be attractive – “we will restore a volume of water equal to the amount our business consumes.” … Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Water Risk Filter can be used to assess and respond to water related risks for your own operations, suppliers, or growth plans. Learn More

Developers: WWF

Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Learn More

CTCN; UNEP Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Water Witness International; WaterAid; WBCSD Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

IPIECA Learn More

Ecolab Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Pegasys; Water Witness International; WWF Learn More

The World Bank Learn More

UNEP-DHI Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UN Water Learn More

OECD Learn More

UNICEF; WHO Learn More

River Threat Netwrok Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; WWF Learn More

Swedish Textile Water Initiative Learn More

Alliance for Water Stewardship Learn More

WaterAid Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

McKinsey Learn More

Toilet Board Coalition Learn More

Conservation International Learn More

UNEP Learn More

UN Water Learn More

AT&T; EDF; Global Environmental Management Institute (GEMI) Learn More

Leonardo Rodriguez
Primary Contact  


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