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  • Origin: Where does the drinking water come from? What lakes or rivers are there? How often does it rain?
  • Availability: Does the country have plenty of drinking water or is it scarce?
  • Infrastructure: How widespread is access to safe drinking water and sanitation? What condition are pipes and sewers in?
  • Water usage: What is drinking water in this country used for? How much does every person use per day?
  • Projects: What projects regarding drinking water (supply or demand management) are planned, on-going or completed in this country?
  • Opportunities and threats: What are the biggest problems facing this country in the future? What is being done to solve them?
  • Norms and regulations: How is drinking water regulated? Are there efficiency standards for water-using appliances?
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South Korea

South Korea receives a fair amount of rain: around 1,274mm (long-term annual average)1 compared to the world average of 973mm 2. However, rainfall is unevenly distributed in seasons (floods in summer, droughts in winter), space (e.g. wet Southern coastal and mountain region, more arid Amnokgang river basin) and from year to year.

Storing water in dams for later use is thus important in South Korea. In 1994, the water storage for dams and reservoirs totalled 16.2 cubic kilometres 3. When some of the dams currently in construction are finished, 50 percent of South Korea's total supplied water will come from storage 4.

River basins:
The five main river basins are:

  • Han river basin in the Northwest
  • Kum river basin in the West
  • Nakdong river basin in the South
  • Seomjin river basin in the South
  • Yeongsan river basin in the South

Groundwater and Desalination:
Groundwater represents about 10 percent of overall abstractions in Korea and 30 percent of the estimated sustainable yield 5.

In 2000, approximately 0.16 million cubic metres of seawater was being desalinised at 16 stations to supply drinking water, mostly on island areas 6.


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Does the country have plenty of drinking water or is it scarce?

Availability

South Korea's renewable freshwater resources per person, a widely-used water availability indicator, stood at 1,422 cubic metres in 2012 1, indicating water stress.

Another way to measure water stress is to look at the percentage of freshwater withdrawn from the total available amount. If more than one fifth of the available freshwater is withdrawn, this again indicates water stress. In South Korea, this rate was 36.5 percent in 2012 2.


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How widespread is access to safe drinking water and sanitation? What condition are pipes and sewers in?

Infrastructure

According to World Health Organization figures, in 2012 98 percent of people in South Korea had access to an improved drinking water source, and 100 percent to improved sanitation 1.

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What is drinking water in this country used for? How much does every person use per day?

Water usage

Since the 1970s, the way water is used in South Korea has been changing.

The country has seen steady economic growth as well as rapid industrialisation. As a result, water withdrawal increased steadily for households and for industry, while decreasing for agriculture. More recently, the ratio has remained more or less the same 1:

    
 
 
 1975
 1994
 2002
 
 Domestic water withdrawal (as % of total)
 10
26
 26
 
 Industrial water withdrawal (as % of total)
 0
11
 12
 
 Agricultural water withdrawal (as % of total)
 90
 63
 62


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What projects regarding drinking water (supply or demand management) are planned, on-going or completed in this country?

Projects

What are the biggest problems facing this country in the future? What is being done to solve them?

Opportunities and Threats

South Korea's climate means intense monsoon rainfalls are followed by periods of extended drought. Thus managing water resources, water storage and stormwater management are of the utmost importance.



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    Authors

    09:51, 21 Aug 2015watersaving.comSwitzerland
    13:50, 22 Apr 2015watersaving.comSwitzerland
    17:43, 14 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
    17:43, 14 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
    17:42, 14 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
    16:46, 14 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
    16:40, 09 Jul 2014watersaving.comSwitzerland
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