A report from the Asian Development Bank has warned that water resources in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam cannot cope with the population growth after years of mismanagement.
Climate change was likely to increase the risk of droughts and floods, which a poorly managed water industry would be unable to cope with.
In addition, continued urbanisation was seen as a particular problem, according to the report, as developing countries in the region continue to fall behind in the collection, treatment and safe disposal of wastewater.
The report’s author, Professor Asit Biswas said government leaders in the region needed to take decisive action to protect their nations’ water resources.
“There is now enough knowledge, technology and expertise available in Asia to solve all its existing and future water problems. If some Asian DMCs face a water crisis in the future, it will not be because of physical scarcity of water, but because of inadequate or inappropriate water governance,” said Professor Biswas.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist November 2007