Climate change role vital, to aggravate crisis
KUWAIT: A total of 17 countries, home to more than a quarter of the world’s population, are suffering ‘extremely high’ levels of water stress and taps in these regions could soon run dry.
The World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas today released a report ranking water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk around the world, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting https://www.dailymail. co.uk. Agriculture, industry, and municipalities are drinking up 80 percent of available surface and groundwater in an average year’ in the 17 worst affected countries, WRI said.
“When demand rivals supply, even small dry shocks – which are set to increase due to climate change – can produce dire consequences” such as the recent crises in Cape Town, Sao Paulo and Chennai. Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana make up the top 17 countries. “Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about.
Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability,” said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI. Another 27 countries which comprised the ‘high baseline water stress’ list include Greece, Belgium and Portugal.
The Middle East and North Africa are home to 12 of the most stressed countries, while India, which is ranked 13, has more than three times the population of the other 16 in its category combined. “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 prioritize risks.
Even countries with low average water stress can have dire hotspots, the report found. While the US ranks a comfortable 71 on the list, the state of New Mexico faces water stress on par with the UAE.