Water Risk Modeling: A Framework and Guidance for the Financial Sector

Thomas WalkerPh.D., Concordia University
Dieter GramlichPh.D., DHBW Heidenheim
Adele Dumont-BergeronConcordia University

A large dam with water flowing into a large body of water

Executive Summary

In recent years, water risk has become a major threat to society and business viability. Exacerbated by climate change, water risk events have increased in frequency and magnitude, thus endangering water security for households, industries, and ecosystems. The consequences of water risk are multifold, affecting society and the economy alike. Yet, because water risk is an emerging risk, it remains poorly understood and lacks visibility and inclusion in risk management processes.


Well-developed tools that allow risk managers and investors to understand, assess, and mitigate water-related challenges are crucially important to address this emerging risk. Many organizations have created water risk assessment tools in recent years, but are the available models exhaustive and/or holistic enough to guide the financial sector towards enlightened decision-making? Because water risk presents various investment, management, and modelling opportunities, it is important from both a risk management and investment opportunity perspective for the Global Risk Institute (GRI) and its constituents to understand the current state of research and model development in this area. It is in this context that we present this report to the GRI and offer detailed insights into the current state-of-the-art of water risk modelling.