Global Water Facts

As we continue to pollute our waters, less fresh water is becoming available for us to drink. More rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers are drying up as the years pass. As bodies of water around the world continue to dry up, we’re seeing more drought conditions spread. There are dust storms in places which have never experienced them until now. As time flows, the amount of agricultural land shrinks, and deserts are growing.

Here are some of the signs of an upcoming global water crisis and some links you may be interested in reading.

#1 It is being projected that by the year 2030, global demand for water will be 40 percent higher than it is today.

#2 Worldwide demand for fresh water tripled during the last century, and is now doubling every 21 years.

#3 According to USAID, one-third of the population of the earth will be facing severe or chronic water shortages by the year 2025.

#4 Of the 60 million people added to the world’s cities every year, the vast majority of them live in impoverished areas that have no sanitation facilities whatsoever.

#5 It is estimated that 75 percent of the surface water in India is now contaminated by human and agricultural waste.

#6 If you can believe it, according to a UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet.

#7 In the developing world, 90 percent of all wastewater is discharged completely untreated into local rivers, streams or lakes.

#8 Every 8 seconds, somewhere in the world a child dies from drinking dirty water.

#9 Due to a lack of water, Saudi Arabia has given up on trying to grow wheat and will be 100 percent dependent on wheat imports by the year 2016.

#10 In northern China, the water table is dropping one meter every single year because of drought and over pumping.

#11 Incredibly, a new desert the size of Rhode Island is created in China every single year because of drought and over pumping.

#12 In China, 80 percent of all major rivers have become so horribly polluted that they do not support any aquatic life at all at this point.

#13 Collectively, the women of South Africa walk the equivalent of the distance to the moon and back 16 times a day just to get water.

Country By Country Drought Facts

world drought and water issues

Ethiopia: 8 million people of Ethiopia’s 60 million people are at serious risk to drought. UNICEF estimates that 1.4 million of these people in trouble will be children under five. (See Ethiopia: The hardest hit.)


Eritrea: Has had many successive years of drought, this, combined with a border war with Ethiopia, has created major food shortages. Over 1.3 million people are at serious risk, including over 1 million people who have been displaced by the border war.

Somalia: Due to 7 consecutive poor harvests along with chronic insecurity in some areas, food stability is deteriorating, affecting over 1 million people, of those, 300,000 children aged under 5 years. The drought been worsened by sudden torrential rains and flash flooding. 

Sudan: Over 2.8 million people in the south of Sudan face food insecurity in the coming months.

Uganda: About 550,000 people in Uganda are at risk of food insecurity.

Afghanistan: Large parts of the southern Afganistan are severely affected by drought, where 60% to 80% of livestock have died. Over 2.5 million people, or 10% of the Afgan population, are at risk and many will need assistance for at least the next 12 months.

China: In the northern Shanxi province of China, nearly 3 million people don’t have enough water to live on. About 33% of the province’s wheat crop has been affected by the drought and more than 60% of its soil lacks water.

India: The India government has mobilized massive water relief efforts in several regions. The areas of Madhya Pradesh, along with the western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in the south, may experience severe drought following the failure of last year’s monsoon rains. Over 130 million people in 12 states have been affected by the worst drought in 100 years. 

Iran: The Iran government has approached the United Nations office in Tehran to ask for international aid to help meet losses estimated at $1.7 billion from the drought. Iran requires about $200 million to provide such things as water tankers and water purifying units for drought-hit areas.

Morocco: The Moroccan government has launched a $633 million contingency plan to combat the worst drought in 10 years. About 70% of the country’s farmable land has been affected by drought.

Pakistan: Government officials have estimated that nearly 3 million people, mostly villagers, face possible starvation from drought. Hundreds of thousands of people have left Pakistan’s southern Thar desert to avoid the problem. The drought has devastated many crops and livestock in the region, home to over 1 million people, there is fear of a massive humanitarian crisis.