Seventeen nations are facing severe water shortages, with countries such as India and Iran using almost all the water they have, according to World Resources Institute data.
Among cities with over 3 million people, 33 face “extremely high water stress,” per the report. By 2030, cities in this category are expected to rise to 45, affecting nearly 470 million people.
Water scarcity affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation.
Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).
Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. There is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed.