Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Vietnam was excluded in the list of 17 countries facing the risk of extremely high water stress, according to the Washington D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.drought risk, and river flood risk in 189 countries and territories around the world. It found that 17 countries, which are home to a quarter of the world’s population, face “extremely high” water stress.

Of the 17 nations, 12 are in the Middle East and North Africa, namely Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman; two in Asia – India and Pakistan­; and the remaining hotspots are San Marino in Europe, Botswana in Africa and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.

While the Middle East and North Africa region is hot and water supply can be low to begin with, rising demand has pushed countries into extreme stress, according to the World Resources Institute. Qatar, the most at risk from water scarcity, depends heavily on seawater desalination systems to supply drinking water to people and industries.Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the World Resources Institute

“The newly updated Aqueduct tools allow users to better see and understand water risks and make smart decisions to manage them. A new generation of solutions is emerging, but nowhere near fast enough. Failure to act will be massively expensive in human lives and livelihoods.”

Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

It now includes 13 indicators of water risk, including new additions such as groundwater availability and water depletion, and monthly snapshots of water stress and variability.

India, which is ranked 13th, has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in this category combined. Northern India is facing severe groundwater depletion, visualized on Aqueduct’s maps and included in calculations of water stress for the first time.

“The recent water crisis in Chennai gained global attention, but various areas in India are experiencing chronic water stress as well,” said Shashi Shekhar, former Secretary of India’s Ministry of Water Resources, and Senior Fellow, the World Resources Institute India. 

“India can manage its water risk with the help of reliable and robust data pertaining to rainfall, surface, and groundwater to develop strategies that strengthen resilience. Aqueduct can help identify and prioritize water risks in India and around the world,” he said.  

VNA