Uneven share

The earth’s small supply of fresh water is very unevenly distributed across the planet. Some regions have more lakes and rivers and get regular rain, while others are mostly desert and suffer years of drought. Climate change is causing more frequent and severe flooding and droughts, intensifying the water stress in some regions.

The population of a region affects the amount of water available for each person. For example, Australia has only a small portion of the world’s water resources but also has a small population, so it has more water available per person than Asia, which has far more water but a much bigger population. As the world’s populations continue to rise, some countries will struggle to get enough water for daily life.

Wasteful ways

Wealthy countries that have more water available per person use large amounts in inefficient ways. Places like the United States, Canada and Australia consume more water-intensive products such as meat and sugar, and use valuable fresh water for luxuries such as long showers and watering lawns.

To avoid a global water crisis, we need to find ways to conserve this precious resource and use water more efficiently.

World Water Use (Museum2you)
The world only has a small supply of fresh water. Image: Designed by Jane Cameron
© Australian Museum