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Global water withdrawal and consumption 2014-2040

It is projected that global water demand will reach 4,350 billion cubic meters in terms of withdrawal by 2040. In the last few decades, the growth in water demand has doubled that of population growth. Water demand growth is also likely to vary based on region and sector. Regionally, water demand growth is expected to come mostly from India, Africa, and other developing countries in Asia. The agricultural industry is one of the largest consumers of water worldwide, primarily for irrigation purposes. Trends in water use will be largely dependent on urbanization, rising living standards, demand for goods, and changes in dietary preferences.

Water accessibility

A vast number of people worldwide still lack access to drinking water sources, while an even larger population has no access to improved sanitation services. In India, over 75.8 million people have no household access to a safe water source. Striving to provide safe water access to these remaining population groups would likely also increase domestic water demand as well as the energy and infrastructure that would need to be put in place to provide these basic needs.

Projected water withdrawal and consumption from 2014 to 2040

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Projections based on the New Policies Scenario reflects the way that governments, individually or collectively, see their energy sectors developing over the coming decades. Its starting point is the policies and measures that are already in place, but it also takes into account, in full or in part, the aims, targets and intentions that have been announced, even if these have yet to be enshrined in legislation or the means for their implementation are still taking shape.

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