The world's top 11 most water-challenged cities

The BBC world news desk has compiled a list of the top 11 cities most likely to run out of water -- and they're not where you might think.

Population growth, drought, pollution, and high levels of leakage threaten water supply in the world's big cities

Population growth, drought, pollution, and high levels of leakage threaten water supply in the world's big cities

Of the cities on the list, five have especially high populations, most of 20 million people or more; four suffer high levels of water pollution; and two have critical levels of leakage. Among the other challenges are drought, seawater intrusion, and water resource mismanagement.

1. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Why? High population of 21.7 million people; drought; water resource mismanagement.

2. Bangalore, India

Why? Rapid property development; high levels of pollution; antiquated infrastructure with 50 per cent leakage.

3. Beijing, China

Why? High population of 20 million people; low water availability; surface water pollution.

4. Cairo, Egypt

Why? High relative number of water pollution-related deaths; critical water shortages expected by 2025.

5. Jakarta, Indonesia

Why? Illegal well-drilling is draining aquifers; prone to flooding.

6. Moscow, Russia

Why? High levels of pollution; low water quality standards.

7. Istanbul, Turkey

Why? High population of 14 million people; low per-capita water availability; water scarcity possible by 2030.

8. Mexico City, Mexico

Why? High population of 21 million people; intermittent water supply; 40 per cent of water is imported; leakage at 40 per cent.

9. London, UK

Why? Low levels of rainfall; 80 per cent of supply from rivers Thames and Lea; supply problems expected by 2025.

10. Tokyo, Japan

Why? High population of 30 million people; rainfall is concentrated during four months of year and a dry season could lead to drought; 70 per cent of water comes from surface rivers, lakes and melted snow.

11. Miami, US

Why? Seawater intrusion to Biscayne Aquifer, the main source of water, continues; and sea levels are rising.


Brazil | Egypt | Indonesia | Mexico | Russia | Turkey

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