WASHINGTON - Mining more critical minerals like lithium and cobalt is essential for building the solar panels, batteries and other clean tech that will power the future. But without proper management, this extraction could come at the expense of local water supplies.

New World Resources Institute (WRI) analysis shows that 16% of the world’s land-based critical mineral sites are located in areas facing high levels of water stress, while the methods used to extract critical minerals require significant amounts of water.

WRI experts explain what’s needed to grow the world’s clean energy without straining water supplies.

Water risks are an urgent global challenge. Most public health crises are already driven by water, including floods, droughts and water-borne diseases. Climate change is worsening the problem by intensifying floods and drought, shifting precipitation patterns, altering water supplies and accelerating glacial melt and sea level rise. Clean water supplies are vital for human health, industry, agriculture and energy production, making water risks a major humanitarian threat. Identifying, understanding and responding to these risks requires transparent, publicly available data.

Aqueduct’s tools use open-source, peer reviewed data to map water risks such as floods, droughts and stress. Beyond the tools, the Aqueduct team works one-on-one with companies, governments and research partners through the Aqueduct Alliance to help advance best practices in water resource management and enable sustainable growth in a water-constrained world.