Only 2.5 percent of the world’s water is fresh, drinkable water. Every year, snow melts off mountain peaks and runs into rivers, which feed into lakes. This water accounts for such a small percentage of earth’s surface — it’s no wonder wars have been waged over water, and some speculate water will be the cause of WWIII.

Read More: WWIII Will be Fought Over What Resource?

These renewable sources are vital to all life on earth. Unfortunately, water as a renewable source is not distributed equally. Small island nations and arid countries have to import bottled water from other water rich countries or invest in expensive infrastructure such as desalinization plants.

Other options in water-scarce regions often fall on the shoulders of the world's most vulnerable populations, like girls with limited access to education. Girls and women in arid countries, like Afghanistan — where only 13 percent of the population has access to clean water — spend countless hours missing school to collect water. 

Here is a list of some of the world’s most water-abundant and water-deprived countries, according to the World Bank and United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s most recent data. 


1. Brazil

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2. Russia

3. Canada

4. Indonesia

5. China

6. Colombia

7. United States

8. Peru

9. India

10. Myanmar

Read More: Girls in Kenya Wrote a Poem For Water And It's Absolutely Beautiful


All of the "worst" countries have no renewable fresh water sources. As less fresh water is available to people around the world, helping small countries like the sixteen listed invest in the latest innovative infrastructure to access clean water is key to breaking the cycles of poverty. Many of these countries rely almost completely on importing bottled water, at a high cost for both citizens and the environment. Technology to clean water improves every day, especially with creative youth working to make change. Let's share this technology, to increase water wealth throughout the world.

However, it's not just about looking at the countries without their own sources of water. Countries abundant in water must also be held responsible at a global level to keep the world's water clean. 

1. Bahrain

2. Kuwait

3. St. Kitts and Nevis

4. Maldives

5. Malta

6. Antigua and Barbuda

7. Qatar

8. Barbados

9. United Arab Emirates

10. Grenada

11. Dominica

12. Cape Verde

13. Djibouti

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Defeat Poverty

The Countries With the Best and Worst Access to Clean Water

By Meghan Werft