Country profile section|
Regional analysis section
Data from Main Database
For the convenience of users, AQUASTAT provides the following queries to the Main Database, providing the most up-to-date data at the click of a button. Please note that the data presented is a summary of available data. For more detail, or to fine-tune the query, go to the AQUASTAT Main Database query page.
|Proportion of total water withdrawal withdrawn for agriculture|
|Proportion of renewable water resources withdrawn: MDG Water Indicator|
Total water withdrawal per capita
|Municipal, industrial and agricultural water withdrawal|
|Population, water resources and MDG water indicator 7.5|
|Water requirement ratio|
Continental, regional and sub-regional country groupings
|Geo-referenced database on dams|
|Irrigation water use|
|Expert workshop on water resource and use assessment methodologies|
|Key Water Indicator Portal|
| Did you know...? Facts and figures about water withdrawal and pressure on |
The amount of precipitation falling on land is almost 110 000 km3 per year. About 56 percent of this amount is evapotranspired by forests and natural landscapes and 5 percent by rainfed agriculture. The remaining 39 percent or 43 000 km3 per year is converted to surface runoff (feeding rivers and lakes) and groundwater (feeding aquifers). These are called renewable freshwater resources. Part of this water is being removed from these rivers or aquifers by installing infrastructure. This removal of water is called water withdrawal. Most of the withdrawn water is returned to the environment some period of time later, after it has been used. The quality of the returned water may be less than the quality when it was originally removed.
In AQUASTAT, three types of water withdrawal are distinguished: agricultural (including irrigation, livestock and aquaculture), municipal (including domestic) and industrial water withdrawal. A fourth type of anthropogenic water use is the water that evaporates from artificial lakes or reservoirs associated with dams. Information on evaporation from artificial lakes will be available in the AQUASTAT database in the near future.
At global level, the withdrawal ratios are 69 percent agricultural, 12 percent municipal and 19 percent industrial. These numbers, however, are biased strongly by the few countries which have very high water withdrawals. Averaging the ratios of each individual country, we find that "for any given country" these ratios are 59, 23 and 18 percent respectively.
The water withdrawal ratios also vary much between regions, going from 91, 7 and 2 percent for agricultural, municipal and industrial water withdrawal respectively in South Asia to 5, 23 and 73 percent respectively in Western Europe. For more details about water withdrawal by region, please see this table.
The importance of agricultural water withdrawal is highly dependent on both climate and the place of agriculture in the economy. The chart below shows the water withdrawal ratios by continent, where the agricultural part varies from more than 80 percent in Africa and Asia to just over 20 percent in Europe.
The chart below shows global water withdrawal over time. In addition to the water withdrawal by the three major sectors – agriculture (including irrigation, livestock watering and cleaning, aquaculture), industries, municipalities – the chart shows the evaporation from reservoirs, which are artificial lakes created when a dam is built and where water evaporates from their surface area. While this is not a water withdrawal per se, it should be considered as an anthropogenic consumptive water use, since this evaporation would not take place without the human intervention of building a dam to store freshwater resources for different purposes, such as for withdrawal by one of the above sectors, for generating electricity (hydropower), etc.
The graphs below combine global water withdrawal and world population over time. World population increased 4.4 times over the last century while water withdrawal increased 7.3 times over the same period. Thus, global water withdrawal increased 1.7 times faster than world population. However, it can also be seen from the graph that, while world population is still growing exponentially, increase in water withdrawal has slowed down over the last decades.
Differently said, between 1900 and 2010, world population increased 340 percent or 1.3 percent per year, varying from 1 percent per year during the period 1900-1940 to almost 1.6 percent per year during the period 1970-2010. Between 1900 and 2010, water withdrawal increased 630 percent or 1.8 percent per year, varying from 1.5 percent per year during the period 1900-1940 to 1.1 percent per year during the period 1970-2010. The largest increase in water withdrawal took place between 1950 and 1960, 4.2 percent per year, while it was only just 0.5 percent per year during the period 2000-2010.
Another way of presentation, using different axes for population and water withdrawal, and also showing water withdrawal by sector, is given in the graph below.
A list of all publications is available on the Publications page. A non-exhaustive selection of some publications more specifically related to water uses is given below:Irrigation water requirement and water withdrawal by country
Monitoring agricultural water use at country level: experiences of a pilot
project in Benin and Ethiopia (Annex 1, Annex 2, Annex 3, Annex 4)
Proceedings of expert workshop in Latin America
Cooling water for energy generation and its impact on national-level water
Municipal and industrial water withdrawal modelling for the years 2000 and
2005 using statistical methods
Disambiguation of water statistics
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