Water Footprint Comparisons by Country

Water Footprint Comparisons by Country

Which country uses the most water?

Global water usage is driven by industrial and agricultural water use. While agricultural water use is the biggest water use category globally, industrial water use can be significant and varies greatly by country. The amount depends upon the volume of freshwater used to produce consumer goods like cars, plastic bottles and food. More industrialized countries use more water.

Bar chart showing a comparison of water footprints from select countries.
Comparison of water footprints from select countries.

Global Water Usage: How do Countries Compare?

You can find your country’s water footprint – the amount of water different countries use – on the Water Footprint Network, which provides statistics for most countries’ virtual water imports and exports and for the total water footprint of national consumption.

This chart lists the total volume of freshwater consumed to produce common products like cars, t-shirts, plastic bottles and food – what’s also know as virtual water – on a per person basis for a variety of countries. The total volume of freshwater is a combination of the amount of water used domestically and the amount of water used internationally to manufacture those goods. The water footprints vary between countries because they’re based on consumption habits of people within each country, as well as that country’s climate and water-use practices.

CountryWater Usage (gallons/person/day)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)2,270
United States of America (USA)2,200
Russian Federation1,341
Dominican Republic1,014
United Kingdom910
Republic of South Africa908
Source: Water Footprint Network