Without water, nothing flows and nothing grows – nothing can live. We need water like we need air to breathe, yet ‘blue gold’, as it is sometimes called, is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions of the world. Climate change is a major factor in this context, as is overuse, primarily in the agricultural sector.
Almost a third of the world’s population lacks access to clean drinking water
Almost a third of the world’s population does not have enough clean drinking water, and nearly a third has nowhere to wash their hands hygienically. Around 2.3 billion people live in countries afflicted in some way by water scarcity, and the situation is particularly critical for more than 730 million of these people.
The majority of the 25 countries and regions with the greatest water stress are in the Middle East. They include various partners with which Germany pursues bilateral cooperation, such as the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Yemen.
Areas where water is most scarce
The countries ranked highest on this list include, somewhat surprisingly, the affluent city-state Singapore. The country has very few reserves of its own and therefore has to import water from neighbouring Malaysia. However, Singapore is now purifying more and more non-potable water and feeding it back into the water cycle. Non-potable water is used in industry, for example to cool machines and systems. Unlike drinking water, non-potable water is not safe for human consumption.