World Facts

Countries With the Most Freshwater

Brazil, Russia, and the United States are home to the top three largest amounts of freshwater.

Freshwater contains a very little amount of dissolved salts and naturally occurs on the surface of the earth in lakes, rivers, caps, streams, ponds, icebergs, glaciers, and ponds. Underground water may also be fresh. Seawater, brackish water, and water in some lakes are excluded because they contain a very high concentration of salt and dissolved minerals.The source of freshwater is precipitation from the atmosphere. Some countries have large freshwater resources. The benefits these countries enjoy due to their vast freshwater resources are numerous. Countries with the most freshwater resources are as discussed below.

Which Country Has the Most Water?

Brazil

Brazil has the highest volume of freshwater resources, totaling approximately 8,233 cubic kilometers. The freshwater in Brazil accounts for approximately 12% of the world’s freshwater resources. The Amazon Region in Brazil contains over 70% of the total freshwater in Brazil. Despite having numerous freshwater resources, one of the most populous regions in Brazil, Sao Paulo faces severe drought. Access to freshwater by poor neighborhoods in urban areas remains a challenge in Brazil.

Russia

The freshwater bodies in Russia include rivers, lakes, and manmade reservoirs. Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world is located in Russia. Baikal holds up to approximately 1/5 of freshwater in the world. The lake was formed on a rift. However, the lake’s volume has been gradually reducing due to climate change. Baikal harbors a large population of seals. In total, Russia has 4,508 cubic kilometers of freshwater resources.

United States

The volume of freshwater resources in the US is approximately 3,069 cubic kilometers. Most of the freshwater resources in the country are surface water. Approximately 77% of the freshwater are surface water and 23% is underground. Majority of freshwater bodies in the United States are lakes. Other freshwater sources are rivers, ponds, and reservoirs. There are over 100 lakes in the US. The major lakes include Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, and Lake Erie.

Canada

The volume of Freshwater in Canada is approximately 2,902 cubic kilometer. Most of Canada’s freshwater is found in its diverse river system and lakes. Besides, the freshwater is mostly underground, in small ponds or in glaciers. The underground water is mostly nonrenewable. The freshwater in Canadian Lakes provides drinking water for over 8 million people and supports a quarter of agriculture in the country.

China

China has the 5th highest volume of Freshwater resources in the world. It has approximately 2,840 cubic kilometers of freshwater. Poyang Lake which is situated in Jiangxi Province is the largest freshwater lake in China. Xin, Xiu, and Gan Rivers all empty their waters into the lake. The volume of the lake keeps fluctuating depending on seasons.

Benefits of Freshwater Resources

Having a large volume of freshwater bodies can be very resourceful to a country. Freshwater resources are vital in the sustenance of biodiversity, food production and generation of hydroelectric power. Migratory birds and other animals prefer having their habitats on freshwater bodies to salty bodies. Countries with a vast volume of freshwater rarely experience problems with household freshwater supply. However, due to poor water connections and water pollution, such countries still experience water shortages. The amounts of freshwater resources have been declining in recent years. Climatic change is one of the main reasons for the diminishing freshwater resources.

Countries With the Most Freshwater Resources

RankCountry Freshwater (Kilometers Cubed)
1Brazil 8,233
2 Russia4,508
3 United States3,069
4 Canada2,902
5 China2,840
6 Colombia2,132
7 European Union2,057
8 Indonesia2,019
9 Peru1,913
10 India1,911
11 Congo, Democratic Republic of the1,283
12 Venezuela1,233
13 Bangladesh1,227
14 Myanmar1,168
15 Nigeria950

More in World Facts