UN Water report: Turkey faces high water stress

The latest World Water Development Report by the United Nations has classified Turkey among the countries experiencing high water stress. The term refers to a country using between 40 and 80 percent of its fresh water supply.


UNESCO published its 2024 World Water Development Report ahead of the 22 March World Water Day. The report stated that Turkey was among the countries in the Asia and Pacific region to experience high water stress.

“Water stress” refers to the ratio of freshwater used in a country to the available renewable surface and groundwater supplies. A country that uses between 40 and 80 percent of the available freshwater supply is considered in high water stress, whereas above 80 percent is considered extremely high water stress.

In the region, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal also experienced high water stress alongside Turkey, according to the report.

Extremely high water stress was experienced in Iran, India, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

The UN report noted that 2.2 billion people worldwide did not have access to safe drinking water, and 3.5 billion people lacked safe water sanitation services, according to a March 22 reporting by the Deutsche Welle Turkish.

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay stated, “Water scarcity has become the rule, rather than the exception,” in some parts of the world in her message for World Water Day.

Azoulay continued that water shortages increased geopolitical tensions, and had immediate consequences for women and children who were pulled away from education and work to secure clean water from scarce resources.

The director-general reiterated the theme of 2024 World Water Day: “Water for prosperity and peace,” and called for globally coordinated action to ensure equitable water access.