Iran ranked fourth in world for water problems.
A new report on water problems around the globe rates Iran as the fourth most water-stressed country in the world.
The World Resources Institute's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas categorized 17 countries as undergoing "extremely high" water stress. All but two of them were in a band from Libya eastward to India.
Nearly a quarter of the world's population lives in those 17 countries, which are approaching "day zero" conditions when the taps will run dry, according to the report released August 6.
"Agriculture, industry, and municipalities are drinking up 80 percent of available surface and groundwater in an average year" in the 17 most affected countries, WRI said.
"When demand rivals supply, even small dry shocks which are set to increase due to climate change--can produce dire consequences."
The most stressed country is Qatar, which can afford to desalinate water for many uses. After Qatar, the 17, in descending order, are: Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana.
Only Botswana, in southern Africa, and San Marino, a mini-state in the mountains surrounded by Italy, are not in the severe Libya-to-India band.
"Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability," said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI.
Even countries with low average water stress can have dire hotspots, the report found. While the US ranks a comfortable 71 on the list, the state of New Mexico faces water stress on par with the UAE. Canada was categorized in the best "low stress" category and ranked 108th. The country with the least water problems was Surinam in Latin America, ranked 164th.
Caption: DEADLY VACATION--For the third summer in a row, a tourist visiting the popular Chama ice cave in the southwest has been killed as warming led a section of the cave to collapse. The cave is situated in the center of Koohrang city in Chahar Mahal va Bakhtiari province and has long been a popular spot for tourists as well as locals to cool off. The dead man was a young adult from Kerman province who died August 2. A similar cave collapse killed one person last August and two tourists from Shiraz died the summer before that. There are no announced plans to restrict entry to the cave.