We can’t survive without water. As the global population and the risks posed by climate change continue to rise, water shortages are getting more acute. UNESCO reports that two to three billion people worldwide experience water shortages for at least one month every year. These shortages present multiple risks to health, food security, livelihood, and even access to electricity. Twelve countries that are facing imminent water crises include:
Do You Live Here? These 12 Countries Are on the Brink of Severe Water Crises
- Saudi Arabia
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In the Middle East, Yemen has several rural villages facing an acute shortage of access to clean and safe drinking water. Safe drinking water is one of the most crucial needs for a human being to survive, without which several diseases or illnesses may arise. The villages in Yemen with little or no access to safe drinking water include communities that account for over 55% of the country’s population.
Saudi Arabia has been classified as one of the most water-scarce countries. The water table in the country drops by around one meter every year, which is a rising concern for the country. The country’s water scarcity level is 89.5 cubic meters per capita, much lower than the absolute level. Migration to urban areas, population growth, power water management, and issues of governance are leading causes that have made the water crisis in the country worsen.
Water in Chile is increasingly becoming scarce due to various reasons like overuse, excessive water rights granted by the government, and even climate change, which has led to an increased decline in rainfall and snowfall in the country. A solution that could stop the water crisis in the country is better water management and watersheds. If action is taken to manage water appropriately, the water crisis threatening the citizens of Chile may end.
Areas around the western Mediterranean are experiencing low rainfall and dry weather, leading to severe droughts and a temperature rise. These conditions have also affected the country of Spain and other countries in the region. As the drought levels in Spain worsen and long-lasting heat waves persist, the country is experiencing water shortages. The Andalusian region is experiencing water shortages in their reservoirs, with only 25% capacity.
The central region of Greece has been stricken by flood, which has led to acute water shortages, followed by official public health warnings. The floods have caused excessive damage to over 270 square miles of area in the country’s farming belt. They have also destroyed homes and roads, leading to a halt in daily activities in the area. Because of the floods, there is a severe shortage of bottled water and water safe for human consumption.
Belgium is facing water shortages, mainly caused by the lack of water reserves in the country, accompanied by heat and a persistent dry season. Although Belgium experienced some rain, the water levels and precipitation in the country are not enough to last throughout the dry season. The country has also experienced more droughts in recent years caused by the erratic rains. The country is currently counting on the rains in the winter to combat the water crisis. However, the rains may not be able to compensate for the dry summer months.
Qatar is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, with acute water shortages persisting in the country. The water needs of the country’s residents are increasing while water availability is low. The country also does not have any natural water source that could sustain the water needs of the people. As the population in the country continues to grow, the water needs also grow, which the country cannot seem to meet, leading to an imminent water crisis.
One of the leading causes of water shortages in Iran is the troubling sinkholes that drop nearly 200 feet, developing all over the country. There are a variety of causes for these sinkholes, which include increased water pumping endeavors, as well as the increase of droughts in several areas of the country. The water problems in the country have compounded, and the water crisis persists. Additionally, factors like inefficient agricultural practices and increased population misuse of water have played significant roles in the increase of water problems in the country.
Water shortages in Tanzania have led to many problems for the country’s residents. Not only has the water crisis in the country affected people’s daily lives, but healthcare in the country has also been hugely impacted. The water problems persistent in Tanzania have severely interfered with hygienic care in the country. The healthcare facilities in the country are already lacking, and the water problems have added even more difficulties when it comes to basic hygiene and sanitation services.
Libya is a desert country that faces water shortages regularly. It is a highly water-stressed country heavily affected by the lack of rainfall. As the water conditions in the country continue to worsen, access to water has unfortunately been weaponized and used as a bargaining tool among warring individuals within the country. The water war within the country has even led to gunmen forcing water workers to shut off water supplies in certain areas to negotiate the release of captives.
India is one of the most significant groundwater users in the world, extracting more groundwater than countries like the US and China combined. This has led to immense pressure on groundwater levels due to overexploitation, pollution, and climate change.
Egypt is yet another country that is going through water scarcity. Although the Nile River flowing through the country supplies over 90% of the water resources, Egypt may face imminent water crises. The water supply in the country has been threatened by developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam being constructed on the upstream stretch of the Great Nile. This dam would generate around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for the country. However, the dam would reduce water flow downstream, which would affect large agricultural areas in Egypt.
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