Written By: Emma Websdale
Drinking water of 69 countries is already facing tough competition with agricultural, industrial and domestic demands, reveals a new report by the World Resources Institute.
According to the World Resources Institute report, the first-ever to rank global water stress on a countrywide scale, 37% of countries are facing high water stress, with at least 40% of their water taken up by agricultural, industrial and domestic uses.
The study, entitled Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, ranked countries based on five indicators: the country’s baseline for water stress, the amount of water removed annually from rivers, streams and shallow aquifers, variation in water supply, the number of floods recorded and the country’s intensity of droughts.
Results showed that out of 181 countries, 17 ranked with the highest possible score for water stress. This means that over 80% of each country’s water supplies is withdrawn annually, leaving residents, farms and companies extremely vulnerable to the slightest change in water supply.
Countries ranking in first place for the highest levels of water stress include Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, Singapore, Trinidad, the United Arab Emirates and Western Sahara. Following closely with high levels of water stress are Saudi Arabia, Libya, Israel and Iran.
Countries ranked as having the least amount of water stress include Brunei, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan. In Europe, Croatia ranked as the least water-stressed country.
Until now, limited information existed about country-level water risk. The report’s information will therefore make it easier for governments, financial institutions, companies and research organizations to prioritize high-risk areas that need investment for improved water management.