International: Freshwater vulnerability threatens stability in developing countries

Many nations and regions that are already facing uncertain political futures must contend with a growing threat to stabilisation in freshwater vulnerability, according to a new study co-authored by researchers from Stanford’s Global Freshwater Initiative. The study weighed up a variety of contributing factors, such as regulatory enforcement, corruption, transboundary competition and water transported virtually in agricultural products, as well as traditional constraints like scarcity and infrastructure. The analysis of 119 low-income countries found common challenges that could inform broad solutions, with the world’s most water-vulnerable countries being Jordan, Yemen and Djibouti. The three countries have much in common, including low rainfall, limited surface water storage, excessive groundwater mining, and high dependence on water shared by neighbouring countries.