Visualizing the Global Population by Water Security Levels
Most of the world’s population today lives in countries facing critical water security issues.
Dealing with issues such as declining freshwater availability, demand from growing populations, insufficient infrastructure, or flawed water governance can impact how easily a country’s population can access water. A combination of multiple factors quickly makes problems with water security a lived reality.
A recent Global Water Security Report by the United Nations University assessed the water security of different countries across the world.
This study assesses water security in countries by examining 10 different underlying components, ranging from water quality and sanitation to availability, resource stability, and climate-related risks.
Each component is given a score out of 10, with a nation’s overall water security score calculated from the sum. Water security levels are assigned based on the overall scores:
- 75 and above is classified as “water secure”
- 65‒74 is classified as “moderately secure”
- 41‒64 indicates a country is “water insecure”
- 40 and below is considered “critically insecure”
Water Security Levels by Country
Water security remains a concern around the world, but is especially dire in regions like the Middle East and Africa, where 13 of the 23 nations in the critically insecure category are located.
In total, 113 countries are considered water insecure, including the world’s two most populated, India and China. An additional 24 countries are considered critically water insecure, with the largest by population including Pakistan and Ethiopia
|Country||Water Security Score||Assessed Level|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||56||Insecure|
|🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||62||Insecure|
|🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam||52||Insecure|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||49||Insecure|
|🇨🇻 Cabo Verde||54||Insecure|
|🇨🇫 Central African Republic||43||Insecure|
|🇨🇬 Congo, Rep.||58||Insecure|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||69||Moderate|
|🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||51||Insecure|
|🇨🇿 Czech Republic||75||Secure|
|🇰🇵 Democratic Republic of Korea||59||Insecure|
|🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||50||Insecure|
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||46||Insecure|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||58||Insecure|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||47||Insecure|
|🇮🇷 Iran, Islamic Rep.||48||Insecure|
|🇱🇦 Lao PDR||56||Insecure|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||81||Secure|
|🇲🇰 North Macedonia||51||Insecure|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||34||Critical|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||51||Insecure|
|🇰🇷 Republic of Korea||70||Moderate|
|🇲🇩 Republic of Moldova||57||Insecure|
|🇷🇺 Russian Federation||73||Moderate|
|🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||36||Critical|
|🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||46||Insecure|
|🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||42||Insecure|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||50||Insecure|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||56||Insecure|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||38||Critical|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||23||Critical|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||56||Insecure|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||37||Critical|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||40||Critical|
|🇸🇾 Syria Arab Republic||42||Insecure|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||54||Insecure|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||66||Moderate|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||79||Secure|
|🇹🇿 United Republic of Tanzania||46||Insecure|
|🇺🇸 United States of America||80||Secure|
Countries facing water security issues account for 72% of the world’s population, with an additional 8% of the global population facing critical water insecurity.
That includes 4.3 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region alone, and an additional 1.3 billion people across Africa. Many of these countries are grappling with issues including fast-growing populations and drought conditions faster than they can develop the necessary infrastructure to deal with them.
Only 12% of the world’s population lives in water-secure countries, including almost all Western countries, with Norway at the very top of the rankings at an overall score of 90. An additional 8% of the world lives in moderately secure countries such as Brazil and Russia.
However, water availability in these more secure countries is not perfect either. For example, U.S. states reliant on the Colorado River for irrigation and drinking water are facing continued drought conditions and limiting consumption, with further crisis on the horizon.
Towards a Water Secure Future
As nations around the world face increasing water-related challenges, governments and international agencies have been collaborating to foster sustainable water management practices. In fact, clean water and sanitation for all is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Many regions have already begun to implement these practices. For example, cities in California have begun recycling wastewater and capturing stormwater to deal with water scarcity. Farming-dependent regions are also looking to smart agriculture to reduce the drain on the limited freshwater resources.
Such initiatives to improve water irrigation systems, enhance water infrastructure, and conserve the depleting freshwater reserves may help elevate countries out of water insecurity and help preserve this precious resource for generations to come.
The Tourist Beaches Predicted to Shrink the Most
Sandy beaches make up over one-third of the world’s coastline, yet nearly half of them could disappear by 2100.
The Tourist Beaches Predicted to Shrink the Most
Sandy beaches comprise more than one-third of the world’s coastline —but nearly half of this could be gone by 2100.
How this Graphic Works
The source conducted an analysis using European Commission data, estimating global shoreline changes by 2100.
Utilizing this data, they calculated the average decrease or increase (in meters) for the shorelines of the 10 most-reviewed beaches in each country on TripAdvisor.
Subsequently, they identified the top 20 tourist beaches projected to experience the most significant reduction in size. The beach boundaries were delineated using the Google Maps API.
Beaches Shrinking by 2100
According to various research, climate change is the main cause of sea levels rising across the globe. In the 20th century alone, it’s estimated that the mean global sea level rose by 11-16 cm.
Typically, beaches might naturally shift inland in response to higher water levels. However, over the last few decades, beaches, caught between rising seas and structures such as buildings and roads, have found themselves with nowhere to go.
Landmark Beach in Lagos, Nigeria, is expected to be the worst hit by 2100, losing 918.3 m of shoreline due to rising sea levels.
Lagos is already suffering the severe impact of rising seas through increased flooding, water-borne disease, and declining water quality.
|Beach||Country||Shoreline Shrinkage (2100P)|
|Spiaggia La Cinta||🇮🇹 Italy||514.2m|
|Costa do Sol||🇲🇿 Mozambique||453.4m|
|Kuakata Sea||🇧🇩 Bangladesh||361.2m|
|Kabyar Wa||🇲🇲 Myanmar||351.7m|
|Entry of Elegushi||🇳🇬 Nigeria||338.0m|
|Royal Comission Yanbu||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||336.2m|
|Simaisma North||🇶🇦 Qatar||298.6m|
|Al Thakeera||🇶🇦 Qatar||278.9m|
|Patenga Sea||🇧🇩 Bangladesh||245.8m|
|Morro Branco||🇧🇷 Brazil||224.6m|
|St. Brelade's Bay||🇯🇪 Jersey||213.6m|
|Cape Henlopen||🇺🇸 U.S.||204.7m|
Playa Akumal in Cancún, Mexico, is the North American tourist beach that is expected to shrink the most (265.9 m). Parts of the Quintana Roo coast, where Akumal is found, are already losing up to 4.9 m a year.
Meanwhile, Clearwater Beach in Longboat Key, Florida, is the American beach that is anticipated to shrink the most (193.4 m). Rising sea levels in Clearwater pose an additional concern since the local aquifers, critical for the water supply of millions, are vulnerable to saltwater intrusion.
What’s Causing Sea Levels to Rise?
Since the 1970s, the world has experienced an average temperature increase of 0.15 to 0.20°C per decade, as indicated by NASA research.
This global warming phenomenon has triggered the melting of polar ice caps, resulting in the loss of approximately 28 trillion tonnes of ice within a little over two decades.
Concurrently, global sea levels have escalated by an average of 34.6 mm during the same period.
In the face of the challenge, solutions such as creating dunes along the backshore of beaches, increasing shoreline setbacks, and planting submerged aquatic vegetation to reduce erosion have been studied to mitigate the impact of rising sea levels.
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