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Countries could be defined as water-stressed if they withdraw more than 25 percent of their renewable freshwater resources, as approaching physical water scarcity when more than 60 percent is withdrawn, and as facing severe physical water scarcity when more than 75 percent is withdrawn. Using these thresholds, water stress is progressing with 36 countries experiencing it in 1998 and 41 countries in 2011. Out of the 41 countries withdrawing more than 25 percent, 21 withdraw more than 60 percent and of these 15 withdraw more than 75 percent. Ten countries withdraw more than 100 percent of renewable freshwater resources, of which 7 in the Arabian Peninsula, 1 in Northern Africa and 2 in Central Asia.
When countries withdraw more than 100 percent of their renewable freshwater resources, this means that they either deplete their renewable groundwater resources, or use fossil non-renewable groundwater or use non-conventional sources of water such as desalinated water or wastewater.