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Annually, each person on Earth consumes about 650 m3 of freshwater for industrial, agricultural, and domestic purposes. Globally, around 3800 km of freshwater is used each year. This accounts for 9% of the total environmental space for natural renewable water resources.

With this consumption rate, by 2050, the world will need approximately 1500 km3 of additional freshwater to supply the expanding population. By that time, about 15% of the total natural renewable water resources will be consumed each year.

Although the global water resources are sufficient for the increasing population, the distribution of these resources and their quality is of concern. Canada has the largest resources of freshwater. On the other hand, the water poverty index in 2002 shows that 37 countries out of the 147 assessed ones has a value below 50 (on the scale ranging from 0 to 100 in which lower scores indicate water scarcity and poor water provision). Most of these countries at risk are in the sub-Saharan region, where only 58% of the population has access to safe water.

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