FreshWater under threat: South AsiaFreshWater under threat: South Asia

The South Asian countries (Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; India; Iran; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka) are home to about one-fourth of the world's population, but only contain about 4.5 per cent (1,945 billion m3) of the world's annual renewable water resources (43,659 billion m3). Except for Bhutan and Nepal, the per capita water availability in the region is less than the world average, with water use in this region being limited mainly to the agriculture sector. Almost 95 per cent of the withdrawn water is consumed by the agriculture sector, a much larger proportion than the average global agricultural water use (70 per cent). In contrast, the region generally exhibits very limited water use in the industrial and domestic sectors. The percentage of the population with sustainable access to improved sanitation facilities in South Asia is 39 per cent (compared to the world average of 59 per cent). The water productivity - in terms of GDP per unit of water use - also is low (US$ 1.4.m-3), compared to the average of US$ 23.8.m-3 for the world's top five food producers (Brazil; China; France; Mexico; USA).

Published in: 2009

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