Consulting Firm Ranks the Nations of the World According to “Water Security”
by Hardly Waite
A British consulting firm called Maplecroft issued a “risk assessment” in the summer of 2010 which attempted to rank the nations of the world according to the security of their water supplies.
A “water security risk index” of 165 nations found African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable supplies, judged by factors including access to drinking water, per capita demand and dependence on rivers that first flow through other nations.
Somalia, where just 30 percent of the population has clean drinking water, topped the list, and then came Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Syria.
Iceland, Norway, and New Zealand, in that order, were ranked as having the most secure water supplies.
Climate change is expected to provoke conflict for water supplies as water becomes more scarce.
Shifts in monsoon rains and melting of glaciers, for instance, could disrupt supplies with the potential to cause cross-border conflicts. Construction of hydropower dams or more irrigation, for instance, can disrupt supplies down river.
The study said irrigation accounted for 70 percent of freshwater consumption across the globe. Industry uses another 22 percent.
While “water stress” is especially a problem for poorer nations, nations like Australia, the United States, and some European countries are also at risk.
Bulgaria ranked 47 on the list, Belgium 50, Spain 68, Australia 95 and the United States 104.