Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Water availability one of world's lowest

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ADDIS ABABA, 5 March (IRIN) - Ethiopia has one of the lowest amounts of water availability in the world, according to a major UN study released on Wednesday.
According to the World Water Development Report, the country also has one of the poorest quality water supplies, with only 11 countries worldwide in a worse state.

The key study, carried out by UNESCO, is the most comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the state of the world's water resources.

In Ethiopia 1,749 cubic metres of water is available per person per year while French Guyana - which ranked top in terms of access to water -- had nearly 500 times as much.

The report also states that half the people in developing countries are exposed to polluted water.

"Of all the social and natural crises we humans face, the water crisis is the one that lies at the heart of our survival and that of our planet earth," said UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.

"No region will be spared from the impact of this crisis which touches every facet of life, from the health of children to the ability of nations to secure food for their citizens."

"Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing at an unsustainable rate. Over the next 20 years, the average supply of water worldwide per person is expected to drop by a third," he noted.

UNESCO says that political inertia lies at the root of the problem and that action needs to be taken to ensure better management of the resource.

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