Global Spotlight Report #66: Climate’s Effects on Country Water Resources


For Report #66 Climate Scorecard invited our Country Managers to report on the ability of their country to adapt to the impact that climate change is having on its water resources.

Country Managers provided reports that described changes in water use that have taken place over the last decade. Included in each Report is a description of how climate factors impacted water usage in sectors such as agriculture and industry as well as specific bodies of water (rivers, lakes) that have been impacted.

The Reports describe country policies and programs that address climate related water issues. Suggestions are provided for ways of strengthening these policies and programs. Each Country Manager also rated their country’s efforts to prevent and/or adopt to climate-related water issues using the Climate Scorecard rating scale. (Please note the ratings given to each country are based on the analysis of Climate Scorecard Country Managers.)


  • A: Highly Effective
  • B: Moderately Effective
  • C: No Impact
  • D: Lacking Policies and Programs 

The table below provides a short summary of each Country Report and the rating given to it followed by a summary of all country Ratings. Complete Country reports follow.

Ratings Summary:

  • A: Saudi Arabia
  • B: Australia, Canada, China, European Union, France, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, the United States
  • C: Indonesia
  • D: Brazil, Mexico

Table: The Impact of Climate Factors on Country Water Resources

Country Rating and Impact
  • B: Australia’s Comprehensive Water Management System is Changing As a Result of Easing Carbon Emissions
  • D: Surface Water in Brazil Has Decreased By 15% Since the Early 90’s
  • B: Has Made Moderate Progress but Needs to do More to Mitigate Climate Related Water Issues
  • B: China’s water policies focus on Building Resilience Against Flooding and Drought
European Union
  • B: Insufficient National Action to Support EU Water Policies
  • B: France is Relying on Technological Innovation to Address Water Shortages In the Agricultural Sector
  • C: Efforts Towards Integrated Water Resources Management and Climate And Climate Adaptation Have Not Had A Relevant Impact
  • B: Japan’s Policy Efforts May Have Forestalled Major New Droughts
  • D: Mexico Lacks Adequate Water Resource Policies and Programs
  • B: Nigeria Has Made Progress in the Development of Water Management Systems
Saudi Arabia
  • A: Saudi Efforts to Prevent and Adapt to Climate Related Water Scarcity Are Highly Effective
South Africa
  • B: Rise in Demand Coupled with Droughts and Floods Stains Available Water Resources
  • B: Needs to Improve the Integration Of Environmental Issues into its Water Resource Management Policy
United States
  • B: The US has Strong National Water Policies but Needs to Address Regional Differences

Country Reports

Australia’s Comprehensive Water Management System is Being Pressured by Rising Carbon Emissions

Rating B (Moderately Effective)In Australia, water usage and availability have changed significantly over the last decade due to climate change as well as human patterns of water use. These two factors have resulted in shifts in rainfall patterns, temperature extremes, and community tension around the sustainable use of Australia’s water resources now and in the…

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Water Surface in Brazil has Reduced by 15% Since the Beginning of the 90s

Rating D (Falling Behind)   Brazil holds 12% of the planet’s freshwater reserves, making up 53% of water resources in South America. Bodies of water define a large part of the country’s borders – there are 83 border and cross-border rivers, in addition to hydrographic basins and aquifers. The transboundary river basins occupy 60% of…

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Canada has made Moderate Progress in Adapting to Climate-Related Water Issues but Needs to do More

Rating B (Moderate Progress)The amount of water in Canadian lakes, rivers, wetlands, and aquifers has been impacted by climate change, evidenced by more flooding, toxic algae blooms, risk of waterborne diseases, drought, fires, hail storms, tornadoes, higher temperatures causing glacier melting, poor quality drinking water, and weather variability in temperature, rainfall, and snowfall. Rivers and…

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China’s Water Issues Focus on Building Resilience Against Flooding and Droughts

Rating: BPast discussions on the water in China have centred mainly on the use of water for hydroelectricity generation and the construction of megadams, e.g., the Three Gorges Dam, as well as the remediation of drinking water pollution due to leachate from agricultural activity and wastewater contamination from industrial production. Over the past five years,…

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EU Faces Dwindling Water Resources Due to Climate Change and Insufficient National Action to Support EU Policies

Rating: B- Moderately Effective The EU’s directives pertaining to water use are comprehensive and well thought out but lack effectiveness due to Member States’ national policies that diverge from these directives.  Over the past several years, climate change’s impact on the EU’s water resources has become abundantly clear. In May 2023, images of severe flooding…

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France Has Suffered Progressively Severe Droughts Over the Past Decade

Rating B France used to experience an abundance of rainfall. However, in the last decade, the country has begun to suffer progressively severe droughts. Notably, “the average volume of renewable water resources (provided by rivers and precipitation that does not return to the atmosphere) has decreased by 14% over the last decade compared to the…

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Indonesia’s Effort Toward Integrated Water Resource Management and Climate Adaptation Hasn’t Had a Relevant Impact So Far

Rating C (Holding Steady)   The water supply and demand vary in Indonesia across several islands based on population density. The freshwater supply is abundant in Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua islands, where the population is less. Conversely, the densely populated Java Island faces water scarcity due to low access to piped water and widespread pollution….

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Japan’s Efforts to Prevent and/or Adopt to Climate-Related Water Issues are B-Moderately Effective

B-Moderately Effective According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT, 2022-a), Japan has a water supply coverage rate of over 98% and is one of the few countries (only 11 countries in the world, including Japan) where tap water is drinkable without modification due to its high water quality. Japan…

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Mexico Lacks Adequate Water Resource Policies and Programs

Rating D Climate change poses significant challenges to Mexico’s water resources, with changing precipitation patterns, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather events impacting water availability and usage across various sectors. This Post examines the changes in water use over the last decade in Mexico, mainly focusing on how climate factors have influenced water usage in agriculture…

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Saudi Efforts to Prevent and Adapt to Climate-Related Water Scarcity are Highly Effective

Rating A Over the last decade, Saudi Arabia, a largely arid country, has witnessed significant changes in water usage, driven by the dual pressures of a growing population and industrialization. One of the key changes has been the shift from water-intensive agricultural practices to more sustainable methods due to the depletion of the country’s underground…

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Rise in Demand, Coupled with Droughts and Floods, Strains Available Water Resources in South Africa

Rating B (Moderately Effective) Climate change will likely cause major water uncertainty in most of South Africa.  With increased drying and flooding, there have been localized effects in regions with small water resource management systems, such as Cape Town. Climate change has influenced annual rainfall, increased runoff, and sea levels. The different climatic conditions, such…

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Nigeria Has Made Progress in the Development of Water Management Systems, But More Needs to Be Done

Rating: BOver the last decade, Nigeria has faced significant challenges in ensuring access to clean water, particularly for the poorest and most marginalized communities. According to the World Bank, approximately 60 million Nigerians lacked access to drinking water in 2018. Climate change has exacerbated these challenges, with more frequent and extreme flooding polluting fragile water…

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Turkey is Faced with the Crisis of Having Per Capita Water Resources Decline by One-Third by Mid-Century

RATING B (Moderately Effective) Water is a precious resource that is gradually getting scarcer. Population growth, industrialization, and urbanization have resulted in a substantial increase in water consumption in the world. While the world’s population grew threefold, water use increased sixfold during the same period. Climate change has also been putting pressure on water resources….

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Climate’s Effect on Water Issues in the United States

Rating: B Climate change has impacted water resources in the United States in countless ways over the last decade. In western states, these impacts vary from severe drought to shortage of surface and groundwater resources, while at the same time, eastern and Gulf Coast states are experiencing rising sea levels and flooding. People living in…

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India has 16% of the Global Population but Only 4% of Total Water Resources, Resulting in Water Scarcity in Many Regions

Rating B Water supply is not only necessary to sustain human life, but is also a key input to many industries such as manufacturing and agriculture. Therefore, the conservation and optimal utilisation of this scarce resource is extremely important for economic development. While India has about 16% of the global population, it only has 4%…

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