Pakistan, southern India and northern China. In the Americas, the US Mid-West, Mexico and the Andes are the worst-hit areas. Eastern Australia is also
badly affected by drought. Individual countries such as Yemen, Uzbekistan and
Israel are currently consuming more water than can be replenished by natural means. China and India the two countries with the largest populations – are
also heavily exploiting their available water resources. The availability of water in individual countries is measured by the Water Exploitation Index (WEI). This records water consumption as a percentage of annually renewable water reserves. A WEI of 20% is a critical value that signals the beginnings of a water shortfall. Countries with a WEI of over
40% suffer from extreme water shortages and no longer use their available reserves in a sustainable countries.
way. Seven European countries – Germany,
England & Wales, Italy, Malta, Spain, Bulgaria and
Cyprus – have a WEI of more than 20%. Around
35% of the European population live in these seven
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