Countries Using More Freshwater Per Year Than They Have In Reserve

These countries must often reuse freshwater, or create it through desalination or other means, to meet their demand.

Fresh water is essential for human both for domestic and industrial purposes, and as such water resources are directly affected by rising populations, and over time by climate change. Water is clearly a critical component for the survival of most of earth's living organism. In that respect, the planet's ecosystems are markedly affected more now than ever before by water pollution, unsustainable agriculture, and the demand to satisfy the ever rising human population. Remarkably, life is dependent on water , and there is always the need to have fresh water in all countries. There are countries that use greater proportion of fresh water than they have in their natural reserves.


Every year Bahrain uses 8,935% of fresh water relative to its reserves, and it is among the top ten countries that are likely to suffer from a water crisis at any given time. Situated in the Middle East, the country is one of the least water secure, and depends mainly on ground water and the desalinated sea water, therefore, facing water-related challenges in near future. Spring and ground water is being depleted and wells are drying. This has brought to construction of a vast number of desalination plants. Bahrain government has taken cognizance of that and water resources council formed to reflect government effort in protection and development of water resources and increase awareness of using and exploiting water.


In Egypt, the River Nile is the primary water source for most parts of the country, including the massive Cairo Metropolitan Area. It is estimated that it supplies more than half water used in Egypt per day, therefore, becomes primary dependent for the rising population and inefficient techniques used in irrigation. It also has standpipes, hand pumps, and canal water where most of its water is used for irrigation. Chlorination of wells has been installed to treat bacteria in water, however modern wastewater treatment plants are increasingly being utilized to serve more people. Evidently, Egypt's rainfall is below average and the country is classified as being "water scarce". The country uses 3,794% of fresh water every year relative to its internal resources.

United Arab Emirates

This is one of the highest water consuming countries in the world, which consumes 26 times more water than what is available. Remarkably, it has desalinated seawater and ground water. Generation and treatment of wastewater takes place in treatment plants and the water is later used for irrigation as well as in agriculture. The government has enhanced environment awareness and water conservation efforts to reduce water consumption. . The country uses 2,665% of fresh water every year relative to its domestic reserves.


Given the climate, the country experiences water shortage however, more money has been put to address the shortage through creation of awareness on ways to utilize available water. Turkmenistan has desalinated its water, increased use of plastic lined ditches, and adopted new technologies. Water shortage in the country is particularly dangerous as the desert covers more than three-fourths of its surface. Water trucks, sprinkler systems, and the desert greening project sustain agriculture and saplings planted. The country uses 1,989% of fresh water every year relative to its domestic reserves.

The Need For Improved Water Management

Water being essential to life, the scale of use varies. Notably, a smaller percentage is used in cooking and food preparation. Conversely, with the alarming proportion of population growth, there is a need to control water pollution and implement water conservation techniques. Irrigation water may be associated with its own unique risks, including the levels of toxins and suspended solids, however, with the availability of fresh water reducing, water-borne diseases are being witnessed more frequently. With the demand of rising population to access clean water, there is the need to use the resource prudently as the shortage of water in future is harmful. Other countries using highest proportions of fresh water relative to their internal reserves include Saudi Arabia (986%), Qatar (793%), Sudan (673%), Libya (618), Uzbekistan (343%), and Mauritania (338%).

Countries Using More Freshwater Per Year Than They Have In Reserve

RankCountryAnnual Freshwater Use Relative To Internal Resources
3United Arab Emirates2,665%
5Saudi Arabia986%

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