ADB focuses on water worries

Keeping a looming water scarcity in perspective, the Asian Development Bank has nearly doubled its allocation for water sector projects across Asia to $4.2 billion this year from its average yearly funding of $2.4 billion in last six years.
In a welcome departure from a low-level annual funding of less than half a billion dollars in irrigation and drainage, the ADB decided to more than triple its funding in irrigation to $1.5 billion in 2017, placing high importance on crucial needs of farm sector in the largely agrarian Asian economies.
In the run up to the beginning of the ADB’s golden jubilee celebration and annual meeting in Japan’s port city of Yokohama today, the Bank’s Deputy Director General Amy Leung said this at a media briefing at the Pacifico Yokohama, one of Japan’s largest convention facilities, yesterday.
Leung said 3.4 billion people would be water-stressed in Asia by 2050 as projected demands for water would increase by 55 percent from now, food by 50 percent and energy by 66 percent.
Of the $4.2 billion, half a billion dollars would go to China as part of a four-year project worth $4 billion to revitalise the Yangtze river and turn the industries along the river green, said Leung.
Several countries increased resilience between 2013 and 2016, including Pakistan and the Philippines.” Bangladesh also lags behind in providing better water services like water, wastewater and stormwater managements in urban settings, according to the Bank.
This is part of the Bank’s $130 million trust fund established in recent years to support fast-growing cities in Asia thereby, reducing the risk the poor face from the negative impacts of climate change.
Leung said 150 million more people could have been provided with safe water if the leakage of water pipelines in the Asian countries was halved.
The issue of water got more complicated when countries failed to manage common river waters as upstream and downstream neighbours, she added.
Leung said ADB would soon publish a study identifying “water hotspots” in Asia — it would inform the governments across Asian nations about where and how they should focus to help people come out of water-starved situations in the coming decades.

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