Water exploitation index

Figure Created 01 Jan 2002 Published 01 Jan 2002 Last modified 15 Dec 2022
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Water exploitation index per country in %


European data


Additional information

The water exploitation index (WEI), or withdrawal ratio, is defined as the mean annual total demand for fresh water divided by the long-term average freshwater resource. A WEI of more than 20 % is indicative of a water-stressed area particularly during drought or low river flow periods (Figure 8.1.). Using the 20 % criterion, about 31 % of the European population lives in countries suffering from high water stress, and 71 % in countries where water abstraction is more than 10 % of renewable freshwater resources. Even if a country has sufficient water resources at the national level there may be problems in dry regions or around large cities.


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