The Freshwater Health Index provides decision support through a set of indicators that transparently assess the health of freshwater systems in their ecological and social dimensions. Built on the best available science, the indicators and measurement protocols quantify and map the multiple benefits that fresh water naturally provides.
The Freshwater Health Index focuses on three main components:
Ecosystem Vitality: The integrity and functioning of the ecosystem. We assess Ecosystem Vitality by measuring indicators related to water quality, water quantity, basin condition and biodiversity.
Ecosystem Services: The range of water-related benefits provided by a freshwater ecosystem. We assess Ecosystem Services by measuring indicators related to provisioning, regulation and support, and culture and aesthetics.
Governance & Stakeholders: Structures and processes by which people make decisions related to water resources. We assess Governance & Stakeholders by measuring indicators related to enabling environment, stakeholder engagement, vision and adaptive governance, and effectiveness.
Each of these components is assessed with a suite of measurable indicators that are aggregated into an index. Evaluation of the indicators requires hydrologic and water allocation models, ecosystem service models, valuation techniques and stakeholder surveys.