A new study reveals that 25 countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population, face the risk of extreme water stress. Most are located in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
The recurrent episodes of drought that occur all over the world deplete the water tables and lead to water stress, ie the demand for water exceeds the level of available resources. And the situation is not about to get better.
Increasingly worrying water stress
By 2050, nearly 60% of the world’s population could face extremely high water stress at least one month a year. This is the alarming observation made by the World Resources Institute (WRI), which has just published new data from its atlas, in which it ranks the countries most subject to the risk of water shortages.
At the top of the list are Bahrain, Cyprus, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman. “Water stress in these countries is mainly due to the low supply, associated with domestic, agricultural and industrial demand.specifies the WRI.
“The demand for water exceeds the available resources”
A total of 25 countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population, are currently exposed to extremely high annual water stress, meaning that more than 80% of their renewable water reserves are used for irrigation, livestock , industry and domestic needs.
By comparison, a country facing “extreme water stress” uses at least 80% of its available reserves, while a country facing “high water stress” withdraws 40% of its reserves. Still according to the report, the regions where the populations are the most impacted are North Africa and the Middle East (83%), followed by South Asia (74%).
New data from @WRIAqueduct‘s Water Risk Atlas finds that 25 countries — home to a quarter of the world’s population — are currently exposed to extremely high #WaterStress annually▶️ https://t.co/aCfF0OjS1Z pic.twitter.com/xeZ05GgDlA
— World Resources Inst (@WorldResources) August 16, 2023
“All over the world, the demand for water exceeds the available resources”, alert the WRI. The institute also adds that, “Globally, demand has more than doubled since 1960”. While growing populations and industries have largely contributed to increasing water stress, the WRI identifies additional causes, such as “lack of investment in water infrastructure, unsustainable water use policies or increased variability due to climate change”.