Regional Water Statistics
General water figures
The water required to refine one barrel of crude oil.
The volume of water required to produce one cotton
The water required to grow a day’s food for a family of
The volume of water used by a five-minute shower with a
standard shower head.
The volume of water required to produce a standard size
meal of steak, potatoes and salad with a couple of
glasses of wine.
The litres required to produce one serving of a fizzy
1 000 t – The estimated tons of water required to
produce one ton of grain.
The volume of water required to produce one hamburger.
World water figures
860 mm – The world average rainfall
– The estimated number of dams in the world
that are over 15 m high.
– The volume of water the average person in the
developing world uses in a day.
– The volume of water the average American consumes in a
– The number of planets we will require by 2030
to keep up with humanity’s demand for environmental
goods and services.
– The estimated number of people who live in
river basins where their use of water exceeds minimum
recharge levels, leading to the desiccation of rivers
and the depletion of groundwater.
5 000 m3
– The volume of water there would be available
for each person if all the freshwater on the planet were
divided equally among the world population.
– The estimated number of deaths a year as a
result of climate-related natural disasters.
– The number of countries that are members of
the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
– The number of megacities with more than ten
- The estimated percentage of people in
developing countries who buy their drinking water from
– The estimated number of people in the world
by 2050, increasing competition for scarce water
– The number of international shared river
basins. Over 45% of the land surface of the world is
covered by basins that are shared by more than one
– The number of river basins worldwide that are
shared by between five and eight riparian nations.
– The number of interactions on transboundary
basins (both conflictual and cooperative) over the last
- The estimated percentage of the world’s
irrigated lands that have been damaged by waterlogging
and salinisation because of poor drainage and irrigation
- The average percentage of industrial waste
dumped untreated in developing countries’ water
resources every year.
- The percentage of the world’s 227 largest
rivers that have been severely fragmented by dams,
diversions and canals.
- The average annual growth of the world’s
bottled water industry.
– The number of people who rely on fish as
their main or sole source of protein.
– The number of fish species in the world that
have become extinct since the 1970s.
– The average time women in developing
countries spend collecting water every week.
African water figures
Africa’s share of global water resources.
4% - The percentage of renewable water resources
that Africa uses.
1 200 – Estimated number of dams in Africa. Hundreds
more are under construction or being planned.
68 800 km2 – The surface area of Lake Victoria, the
world’s second-largest freshwater lake and the largest
70% - The percentage of Africa’s urban population
who stay in slum areas. It is estimated that more than
1,6 billion Africans will be staying in informal urban
settlements by 2020.
58% - The percentage of Africa’s population that
has access to safe drinking water.
– The work hours lost every year to the need to
fetch drinking water.
– The average weight of water that women and
children carry (mostly on their heads) in Africa and
Asia. This is equivalent to the permitted airport
200 – The estimated number of fish species wiped out in
Lake Victoria following the introduction
South African water figures
500 mm – The average annual rainfall of South Africa.
49 billion m3 – South Africa’s average annual mean annual
- The percentage of South Africa that receives
less than 200 mm rain a year.
– The quantity of water stored per person.
– The size of the average South African
household, down from 4,48 ten years ago.
13% - The contribution of groundwater to bulk
water supply in South Africa.
- The percentage of households who had access
to potable water in 2008.
- The percentage of South Africa’s water used
by the power generation sector.
19 500 t
– The amount of medicinal plant material
provided annually by South African wetlands.
- The percentage of wetlands lost due to
impacts such as agriculture and urban sprawl.
– The estimated number of estuaries in South
R100-million – The estimated worth of the existing
aquaculture facilities in the country. Most of them are
dormant, with some falling into disrepair.
1,3 million ha
– The land under irrigation in South Africa.
Municipal water figures
178 million kl – The water consumed every year in Tshwane.
97% - The percentage of residents in Tshwane who
have access to tap water within 200 m of their homes.
– The number of informal settlements around
– The number of people supplied with tap water
from Rand Water.
– The size of Rand Water’s largest reservoir,
Libanon. The water utility has a total of 47 reservoirs.
- The number of people in Johannesburg with a
reliable water supply.
– The number of sewage blockages experienced
monthly by Johannesburg Water.
– The estimated number of settlements believed
to be illegally situated on top of Rand Water’s bulk
– The number of municipalities that do not have
access to in-house engineers.
– The average number of blockages per kilometer
of sewer pipe a year experienced by South African
municipalities. This is ten times the international
– The volume of water Umgeni Water, in
KwaZulu-Natal, serves its 400 000 customers daily.
– The number of reservoirs under Umgeni Water’s
– The number of river systems of strategic
importance to eThekwini Municipality (Durban) that are
still in a natural state.
General sanitation figures
10 million – The number of viruses contained in one gram
The percentage of the world’s population
without basic sanitation.
10% - The percentage of the world’s crops being
irrigated with sewage effluent, often untreated.
The average percentage of global cholera cases
stemming from Africa every year.
African sanitation figures
16 000 – The average number of people that die in
South Africa every year from diarrheal diseases.
73% - The percentage of households who have access
to at least basic sanitation.
– The number of schools in South Africa with no
– The estimated number of sewage treatment
plants in South Africa.