Map of the world showing water scarcity
Physical water scarcity: More than 75% of river flows are allocated to agriculture, industries or domestic purposes (accounting for recycling of return flows). This definition of scarcity - relating water availability to water demand - implies that dry areas are not necessarily water-scarce, eg Mauritania.
Approaching physical water scarcity: More than 60% of river flows are allocated. These basins will experience physical water scarcity in the near future.
Economic water scarcity: Water resources are abundant relative to water use, with less than 25% of water from rivers withdrawn for human purposes, but malnutrition exists. These areas could benefit by development of additional blue and green water, but human and financial capacity are limiting.
Little or no water scarcity: Abundant water resources relative to use. Less than 25% of water from rivers is withdrawn for human purposes.

Short Course on Water in the World

Burton Danet, Ph.D.
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