The report provides a global overview of water resources and their importance for development. It also outlines how major global changes, risks and uncertainties interact with water resources.

The report aims to encourage all stakeholders including water managers, government, civil society and businesses to engage early in decision-making about managing water to ensure successful implementation.

It consists of three volumes covering issues around managing water under uncertainty and risk; the state of knowledge about water; and facing the challenge of coping with pressures on resources. The chapters cover a range of issues including water management; regional differences and demands; and approaches for managing water under changing conditions. The report highlights the need for political, social, economic and technical changes to promote more responsible action by water users.