It’s well-known that water is a finite resource, which is why it can have such disastrous consequences when it’s abused.
Although no country is immune to the world water crisis, there are certain parts of the world where there is an abundance of fresh water (or should be). Brazil, for example, is the country with the largest supply followed by Russia, which brings Canada and the USA in tow.
So excluding man-made reservoirs, what are the largest natural sources of fresh water on this fine Earth? We take a look at five of them.
Together, the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets contain more than 99% of the freshwater ice on Earth – therefore Antarctica accounts for around 70% of the world’s freshwater, although obviously we can’t access it as it’s locked up in ice.
Covered in ice averaging 1.9 km (2.1 miles) thick, it’s been estimated that sea levels worldwide would rise about 60 metres if the entire Antarctic ice sheet were to melt.
2. The Great Lakes, North America
Coming second only to the polar ice caps, Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Eerie and Superior together make up 21% of the world’s surface freshwater by volume.
3. Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world, situated in a rift and curving for nearly 400 miles through south-eastern Siberia.
It is thought be 25 million years old and contains roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface freshwater – the greatest in the world by volume.
4. Lake Victoria, Africa
Spanning Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger (see above).
5. Lake Tanganyika, Africa
It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest – after only Lake Baikal in Siberia (see above). It is also the world’s longest freshwater lake.
Lake Tanganyika is spread across four countries: Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Burundi.