Qatar is the second most likely country to experience an interruption to its water supply, according to the 2011 Water Stress Index, a British report released this week.
Of the 17 countries designated as being “extreme risk,” Qatar is second only to Bahrain in terms of least available water per capita. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia ranked third and fourth, respectively.
The shortages in some countries can lead to problems in countries that do have enough water, states Maplecroft, the UK-based risk analysis firm that issued the report.
“One of the primary water users is agriculture, providing a direct link between water stress and food security,” said Principal Environmental Analyst at Maplecroft, Kimberlee Myers.
“When a country goes outside its borders to ensure food security, it creates a situation in which water is reallocated away from host countries,” she said.
“If local water supplies are being used for agriculture for food destined for foreign countries at the expense of the needs of local communities, then the governments could be open to accusations of negatively impacting on the right to water of their people. As water resources deplete in countries that currently experience low water stress, this will become increasingly problematic.”
In Qatar’s case, like in other oil-rich Gulf states, shortages are exacerbated by rapic economic growth and an increased the demand for water among growing populations, the report stated.
Of the 186 countries studied, large emerging economies like India and China are also at risk.
Read more about the report here.
And see the Huffington Post for a photo gallery of the most water-stressed countries.