Only 2.5% of the total water available in the world is fresh and drinkable.

Snow melts off the mountain peaks every year and run into the rivers that reroute into lakes and to our taps from thereon. These are the renewable sources that are vital to life on this planet. However, unluckily these are not equally distributed among the nations. In fact, going by the rapid rate of water depletion, some speculate that water could cause the third World War.

Yes, the conditions are this severe. Smaller nations and arid countries are required to import packaged water from countries that are water rich or alternatively, invest in desalinization plants and other expensive infrastructure. For water-scarce countries that cannot manage either, the option often falls on the shoulders of the people. For instance, in Afghanistan where only 13% of the population has access to drinkable water, vulnerable groups like children spend countless hours collecting water and missing school.

The Uneven Distribution of Water

60% of the total available freshwater supply is possessed by fewer than 10 countries.
There is an extreme unevenness in the Total Renewable Water Resources around the world, from a 100,000 m3 per inhabitant in Canada to just 10 m3 per inhabitant in Kuwait. This variability is not just on the country level; it is also in relation to the population in larger countries. Only 9 countries are among the world giants when it comes to internal water resources. On the other hand, the smallest countries are usually also the smallest in terms of water self-sufficiency.

On an average, a minimum of 1,000 m3 of water per year per inhabitant is considered necessary to sustain life and ensure irrigation for agricultural production. However, almost half of the world’s water-poor countries have a water threshold of 1,000 m3 per inhabitant and 500 m3 per inhabitant in the other half, which correspond to the water stress and water scarcity levels respectively.

Here is a list of the world’s best and worst countries in terms of their water supply. This list was released by the World Bank and the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s in their most recent data.

Exploitation of Water Resources

The disparity and scarcity are intensifying by the impacts of human activity that has been leading to deterioration in the quality of the earth’s water resources and the water. The worsening quality can also be due to the susceptible nature of frequently over utilized resources such as salinization of aquifers in Spain and Israel and Tunisia where sources have been disappearing. Moreover, partitions among various countries have made the situation even more complex.

Here’s what is happening:

Water Saving

In the recent times, the need for higher standards of living has been changing water demand patterns among us. The demand is significantly reflected in the increased domestic water use in most developed and developing countries. Especially, with most of the population having indoor toilets, showers and baths, water wastage has gone up. Most of the urban water consumption around the world is stated to be around 70 % for household consumption, 6 % for public services and over 24 % for small industries.

Being responsible citizens of this planet, all of us at a personal level must contribute. Identify where water is being wasted in the household and mitigate that, avoid excessive usage of water in activities like washing a car, and ensure safe drinking water for your family by installing a high quality water purifier at home for drinking water.