Mapped: The World’s Water Crisis

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Dec. 13 2013 3:17 PM

Dry Planet 

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A mobile desalination and water purification station in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Aqueduct Project of the World Resources Institute has released the first ever index ranking countries by “water stress”—the ratio of water being withdrawn to available supply. The map below—(interactive version here) shows the results:

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The world’s most water-stressed countries are an eclectic group including both desert countries like Saudi Arabia and tropical islands like Saint Lucia and Jamaica; wealthy countries like Singapore and poor ones like Yemen.

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As I mentioned Tuesday, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority recently signed a deal that will involve in the construction of a desalination plant in Southern Jordan to provide billions of gallons a year to all three places. All three are among the most water-stressed countries on Earth.    

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs. 

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