17 countries use more than 80% of their available water supplies every year, meaning droughts or increased water demand for agriculture and growing cities could leave them at risk of crisis, according to the World Resources Institute.
Zoom in, and more pockets of concern emerge. States like New Mexico in the U.S. and cities such as Cape Town, South Africa — which nearly ran out of drinking water last year — have "extremely high" stress levels.
Where things stand: A dangerous combination of hot and dry weather, poor water management and rising demand is leaving cities including Chennai, India, and Harare, Zimbabwe, without water for days on end, Tanvi Nagpal of Johns Hopkins writes for Axios Expert Voices:
- "India's government warned in 2018 that 21 Indian cities would run out of groundwater by 2020, placing almost 100 million citizens at risk unless urgent steps were taken to protect and replenish aquifers."
- "Despite the threat of an impending drought, Zimbabwe's protracted political crisis and economic contraction have thwarted major investments in public goods."
What to watch: The pressures on municipal water supplies are likely to worsen with the effects of climate change.