According to new data from World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Aqueduct tools reveal that 17 countries of the world face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year.
Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, the UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana made up the top 17.
Forty-four countries, home to one-third of the world, face “high” levels of stress, where on average more than 40% of available supply is withdrawn every year. Such a narrow gap between supply and demand leaves countries vulnerable to fluctuations like droughts or increased water withdrawals, which is why we’re seeing more and more communities facing their own “Day Zeros” and other crises.
The Middle East and North Africa are 12 of the most affected countries, while India, ranked 13th, has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in its category.
“The recent water crisis in Chennai gained global attention, but various areas in India are experiencing chronic water stress as well,” said Shashi Shekhar, India’s former water secretary, adding that the tool could help authorities identify and prioritise risks.
According to the report, even countries with low average water stress may have hot spots. While the United States ranks high on the list, the state of New Mexico is facing water stress equal to that of the United Arab Emirates.
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17 November, 2019