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While more than one-third of China still suffers from high water stress, there are signs of improvement: New WRI analysis shows that the rate of increase in the country's water withdrawals has slowed from 5.1 billion cubic meters per year in 2001-2010 to 1.6 billion cubic meters per year from 2010-2015.

Cape Town, South Africa has been in the news for its impending "Day Zero," when the city will shut off taps and start rationing water, but its reservoirs aren't the only ones shrinking. Satellite images reveal dwindling water supplies in Morocco, India, Iraq and Spain.

Ethiopia, the fastest growing global economy, aims to increase prosperity for its citizens. Climate change, conflicting water demands and watershed degradation could stand in its way. Sustainable water management will be essential to maintaining Ethiopia's progress.

Water security drives state stability and safety in many regions of the world. The direct and indirect effects of water stress—such as migration, food shortages and general destabilization—transcend national boundaries.

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