The Top 5 Countries with the Least Fresh Water

  Country Total Renewable Water Resources Average Precipitation
1 Kuwait/ Bahamas 0.02 km3/yr 2.156/ 17.93 km3/yr
2 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.024 km3/yr 0.371 km3/yr
3 Maldives 0.03 km3/yr 0.5916 km3/yr
4 Malta 0.0505 km3/yr 0.1792 km3/yr
5 Qatar 0.058 km3/yr 0.8591 km3/yr
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 Facts
  1. Countries with very limited renewable internal and external water resources such as Israel, Bahrain, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Gaza Strip, Kuwait, Qatar and others, face a critical situation in terms of water resources. This region is the area of the globe with the lowest figures in terms of absolute and per inhabitant water resources, even when considering the contribution of rivers flowing in from more humid regions of Anatolia (the Euphrates River) and the Caucasus. Precipitation in the region is very low and variable, and the region's water resources are particularly sensitive to drought. During dry years, which occur approximately every ten years, rainfall can be as low as one-third of its long-term average. (a.)
  2. While the Near East region covers 4.7 percent of the world's total land area and contains 4.25 percent of its population, the region's water resources are only about 1.1 percent of the world's total renewable water resources (TRWR). The countries of the Near East region have less water resources per person than the world average. The TRWR per inhabitant are less than 1,000 m3/inhabitant in 10 out of 18 countries. The Arabian Peninsula has very limited water resources, with less than 10 mm/year of rainfall on average, and is in a situation of very severe water scarcity, with values between 200 and 700 m3/inhabitant/year. In contrast, the Middle East subregion shows much higher values, due mostly to the abundant flows generated in the mountainous areas of Turkey and of the Caucasus subregion. (a.) By 2025 the U.N. estimates that 1.8 billion people will live in regions suffering from water scarcity and two thirds of the global population will live under water-stressed conditions. (c.)
  3. Some oil-rich countries convert a significant amount of saline water from the sea or from poor-quality aquifers (brackish water) into drinking-water. The total use of desalinated water in the Near East region is estimated to be 3.93 km3/year. In absolute terms, three countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait) are by far the largest users of desalinated water, accounting for 77 percent of the total for the region. Saudi Arabia alone accounts for 47 percent. (a.)
  4. Less than 1% of the world's fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use. Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far: about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated agriculture. The global daily drinking-water requirements per person, 2-4 litres, are minor compared with the 2,000-5,000 litres of water required to produce a person's daily food. Irrigated agriculture accounts for about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals worldwide and more than 80% in the developing countries. (b.)
  5. Dirrahoea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths - about 1.5 million each year - is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water. 884 million people lack access to safe fresh water supplies; approximately one in eight people. 3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease. (b.)
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. AQUASTAT. (2003). "Global Information System on Water and Agriculture". Retrieved Jan 28th, 2011.
  2. Water.org. (2010). "Water Facts" Retrieved from: http://water.org/learn-about-the-water-crisis/facts/
  3. International Decade for Action: Water for Life 2005 - 2015. (2012). Retrieved March 1st, 2012 from: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml
Tags: Water, The Environment, Top 5 Least

Sources:  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2015. AQUASTAT.

List Notes: Data is total renewable water resources ranked by volume (km3 per year estimated). The TRWR is calculated from: average precipitation, internal resources (surface & groundwater) and external resources (natural & actual). Please note: The accuracy and reliability of information vary significantly between regions, countries and types of data. No consistency can be ensured at regional level on the duration and dates of the period of reference. List last updated January 28th, 2015.
Countries with the Least Fresh Water

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