The Top 5 Countries that Consume the Most Water

  Country Fresh Water Consumption
1 United States 2,500 m3
2 Greece 2,400 m3
3 Malaysia 2,300 m3
4 Italy 2,200 m3
5 Spain 2,100 m3
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 Special Report
  1. 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.) 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.)
  2. A person in America taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. Only 62% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation - defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact. At home the average American uses between 100 and 175 gallons of water a day. (a.)
  3. 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. (a.)
  4. Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way. (a.)
  5. Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 - $34, depending on the region and technology. (a.)
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. (2010). "Water Facts" Retrieved from:
  2. AQUASTAT. (2003). "Global Information System on Water and Agriculture". Retrieved Jan 28th, 2011.
  3. International Decade for Action: Water for Life 2005 - 2015. (2012). Retrieved March 1st, 2012 from:
Tags: Water, Top 5 Most, The Environment

Sources:  World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report 2008

List Notes: Data is per person, per year. Data is fresh water from rivers, lakes and aquifers (surface and ground water) that is used in agriculture, industry and for domestic purposes, as well as the water from rainfall that is used to grow crops.
Countries that Consume the Most Water

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