Water scarcity projections

Map showing water scarcity areas

Things are changing globally — and long term trends are not very encouraging. The map here and its included commentary tell an extremely complex story. Water scarcity already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.

It mostly affects arid and deserted areas, and places where the water is too polluted to drink. Water scarcity can be the result of both human and natural causes. It is a social, environmental and economic problem in many countries. Changes in climate and weather patterns can cause the availability of water to drop. Common human causes include over-consumption, bad governance, pollution, and increases in the demand for water.

Did you know?

Water use has been growing at more than the rate twice of population increase in the last century.

Over 800 million people in 43 countries suffer today from water scarcity.

By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions.

With the existing climate change scenario, by 2030, almost half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress. In addition, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region.

Based on information from:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and UN-Water.