Top 10 Countries Blessed with Renewable Water Resources

feature image - renewable water resources

“The water planet,” as Earth is known, has more water than land, yet more than 99% of the water on the planet is not reusable. Life on Earth cannot exist without water.

Renewable water resources are necessary for all forms of socio-economic development and the preservation of healthy ecosystems.

Three-quarters of the Earth is covered in water. 97.3 percent of the water is saline or salty in the oceans and seas, whereas just 3% is freshwater, including ice caps, groundwater, freshwater lakes, inland, and salt lakes.

Besides seawater and brackish water, freshwater is any naturally occurring water. Lakes, rivers, ice caps, streams, ponds, icebergs, and glaciers all contain freshwater.

Precipitation from the atmosphere is the source of renewable water. Freshwater resources are abundant in several countries. Because of their massive renewable water supplies, these countries reap enormous benefits.

According to a photo shot from space, Earth has more water than land and looks like a blue marble. It seems incredible that the water that sustains all terrestrial and aquatic life on our planet is in such short supply.

So, one must use this resource extremely cautiously and intelligently. We have listed ten countries with renewable water resources.

1. Brazil

brazil - renewable water resources
Water resources of Brazil (source)

First, on our list, Brazil has by far the world’s most extensive renewable water resources. Renewable water is a fundamental component of Brazil’s goal to foster sustainable growth and a more equal and inclusive society.

In terms of water access, Brazil is a big paradox: it boasts “12% of the world’s fresh surface water reserves, but its cities have the most acute supply challenges.”

The coordinator of Aliança Pela Gua, Marussia Whately, mentioned between 1972 and 2017, Brazil’s renewable water resources remained stable at around 8,647 billion cubic meters per year.

2. Russia

Russia - renewable water resources
Snow cover near Baikal, Russia (source)

One-fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves are in Russia. However, this water is spread unevenly throughout the country.

Rivers, lakes, and artificial reservoirs are examples of renewable freshwater bodies in Russia, home to the world’s biggest and deepest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal. Baikal has almost a fifth of the world’s liquid freshwater. 

In the next 30 years, Russia’s renewable water resources may expand by 8–10%. Their dispersion will become more uniform.

This adjustment will have some favorable consequences, including for hydroelectric power generation. However, controlling the more significant flows will provide new challenges, particularly when they coincide with extreme weather events like downpours or ice-clogged floods in the spring.

As a result of climate change, the lake’s volume has been steadily decreasing. In 2017, the Russian Federation’s internal renewable water resources per capita were 29,629.6 cubic meters.

3. United States

The USA - renewable water resources
Overwater Golden gate bridge, USA (source)

The United States is third on our list of countries with renewable water resources. The United States is the world’s third-largest freshwater reserve.

There are over 100 lakes in the state, with Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie being the largest. In 2017, the United States of America’s renewable water resources per capita were 9,440.6 cubic meters per year.

The majority of the country’s freshwater resources are surface water. Surface water makes up about 77 percent of freshwater, while underground water makes up 23 percent.

Lakes make up the majority of freshwater bodies in the United States. Rivers, ponds, and reservoirs are other sources of freshwater.

4. Canada

Canada - renewable water resources
Emerald Lake, Canada (source)

Freshwater resources, both non-renewable and renewable, abound in Canada. Canada has more large lakes than any other country globally, with 563 large lakes; most of Canada’s freshwater is located in its complex river system and lakes.

Between 1971 and 2013, Canada has the world’s third-largest renewable freshwater supply, with an average annual flow of 3,478 cubic kilometers (km3).

Fresh water in Canadian lakes serves as a source of drinking water for over 8 million people and sustains a quarter of the country’s agricultural production.

Although Canada has extensive freshwater resources and only uses a small portion of them, the uneven distribution of these resources may pose challenges.

5. China

China - renewable water resources
Fenghuang, China (source)

China is ranked fifth on our list, with the world’s fifth-highest renewable freshwater resources. China’s renewable water resources per capita were 1,955.2 cubic meters per year in 2017.

Poyang Lake, located in Jiangxi Province, is China’s largest freshwater lake. Between 1972 and 2017, China’s renewable water resources per capita decreased at a slower rate.

China’s water resources are being impacted by severe water shortages, rapid economic development, and low environmental regulation, raising water consumption and pollution on a vast scale.

6. Colombia

Colombia - renewable water resources
Guatape, Colombia (source)

In many aspects, Colombia’s water supply and sanitation have improved during the last few decades. Between 1990 and 2010, access to enhanced sanitation rose from 67 percent to 82 percent.

Despite being one of the nine most water-rich territories globally, a third of the urban Colombian population suffers from water stress. However, Colombia has taken essential steps to improve the institutional framework of water.

7. European Union

Italy - renewable water resources
Lago di Carezza, Italy (source)

European Union had millions of kilometers of rivers and streams and over a million lakes, but each had its unique characteristics and environmental issues.

According to a European Commission brochure, 20 percent of all surface water in the EU is seriously threatened by pollution; drinking water comes from underground sources.

Sixty percent of European cities use their groundwater resources excessively. Due to overexploitation of groundwater, 50% of wetlands have been designated as “endangered.”

Since 1985, the extent of irrigated land in southern Europe has expanded by 20%. Because of the unequal distribution of both water and people, countries and sub-regions are experiencing varying degrees of water stress.

The annual average rainfall in western Norway ranges from over 3000 mm to less than 25 mm in southern and central Spain.

Transboundary watershed inflows, surface flow, and groundwater flow can account for a large portion of a country’s freshwater resources.

The Danube basin’s downstream countries are the most reliant on external resources. Upstream rivers also provide considerable inflows to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Portugal.

8. Indonesia

Indonesia - renewable water resources
Padar Island, Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, Indonesia (source)

Indonesia does not have a water shortage since it has enough water to meet the demands of its population and economy, particularly on Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia has roughly 6% of the world’s total water resources, accounting for about 21% of the total in the Asia-Pacific.

In some sections of the country, the renewable water shortage has been caused by poor water management, limited infrastructure, and rapid economic expansion. Irrigation of crops consumes 80 percent of surface and groundwater.

9. Peru

Peru - renewable water resources
Cto. de Playas de la Costa Verde, Peru (source)

Peru is home to over 4% of the world’s annual renewable water resources. In terms of freshwater volume, Peru is the sixth most water-rich country on the planet.

Freshwater, on the other hand, is distributed unevenly across the country. Peru’s coastal region has the most significant economic activity and houses more than half of its population, but it only receives 1.8 percent of its renewable water resources.

Water resources quantity and quality are being depleted due to economic and population growth, particularly in Peru’s coastal region.

Peru’s government is currently transforming its water resources management system from a centralized strategy centered on coastal irrigation development to a river basin integrated water resources management system for the entire country.

10. India

India - renewable water resources
Jaipur, India (source)

Although India possesses only 4% of the world’s renewable water resources, it is home to roughly 18% of its population.

There are approximately 20 river basins in India. Most river basins are water-stressed due to rising demand for home, industrial, and agricultural uses.

Increased demand from an expanding population, combined with increased economic activity, puts further strain on already overburdened water resources.

Conclusion 

Freshwater is a finite resource on the planet, and much of it has been contaminated. As the human population grows, so does the demand for freshwater. 

Freshwater is in serious trouble, and human activities are fast destroying its ability to support plant and animal life, so we all need to come together and do our parts for saving renewable water.