Few Nations Unaffected by Drought

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted June 10, 2011

Water shortages aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

A recent assessment by the U.K.-based company Maplecroft has shown nations most at risk for water shortages.

Of the 188 countries surveyed, all 15 of the countries listed at “extreme risk” were located in the Middle East and North Africa.

Water Stress IndexWater Stress Index, Maplecroft.com

The assessment was based on an analysis of supply against demand, and demand is on the rise in many of these countries.

In several of the poverty-stricken nations, dry conditions and a low water supply are up against growing populations.

And in the more economically developing countries, the continued expansion is calling for more and more water that’s not available.

One of the biggest issues seems to be that of the 12 OPEC nations, 6 are listed at “extreme risk” and 2 more at “high risk” for water shortages.

Many of these nations use water in the process of extracting crude oil, though recently they have been using other methods in order to conserve their already low water supply.

In Oman, the process of desalination is used to supply water.

Oman is one of those countries at “extreme risk”, and going along with this is an expected 70% rise in water demand within the next 6 years.

Oman is planning to construct a new desalination plant that officials hope will be ready by 2014.

This plant won’t be able to fully cover that large 70% increase, but it can at least provide some aid in anticipation.

Maplecroft also suggested that several water-wealthy nations are putting themselves at risk in their attempts to answer the cries of dry nations.

Countries such as Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as listed by the Canadian Press, are leasing out large plots of land to countries like China, South Korea, and the UAE.

These countries are leasing foreign farmlands to grow crops rather than using up their already dangerously low water supplies to do so.

Unfortunately, this puts the countries that are leasing at risk of denying their own citizens full access to the water supply, and it could cause future problems of their own.

It’s a losing situation when limited supplies are at stake.

That’s all for now,

Brianna Panzica

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