Potential impacts of water scarcity on the world economy:
Water is an input that is needed directly or indirectly for the production of many goods and services. Naturally, agriculture is the largest user of water, even more so in developing countries. Due to climatic conditions, economic growth and the importance of agricultural production, water shortages will especially restrain economic development in South-east Asia, Middle East and North Africa.
Already today many countries use basically all available water resources. Hence, virtual water trade via trade in goods with different water intensities in production, is growing and will play an increasingly important role. Besides the available quantity of water, the quality of the water or, in other words, water pollution caused by industry and agriculture is a major problem in both developed and developing countries.