Weekly Water Report Southern & Eastern Asia Stories

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AIIB approves $400 Million USD Loan for India Drinking Water Project

MUMBAI, India

It is estimated that a new $400 Million USD loan by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for piped water supply will positively affect up to 3.3 million people in Andhra Pradesh.

Climate and Water at COP24: Will We Catch the Current or Be Trapped in the Eddies?

KATOWICE, Poland

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community.

In this article, John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is chaired by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank, reflects on this month's 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the evolving recognition and presence of "water" as a voice in the UNFCCC.

Matthews’ work integrates technical and policy knowledge for climate adaptation for practical implementation. John has worked globally on these issues since 2007 and has authored many publications on adaptive management for water infrastructure and ecosystems. He has a PhD in ecology from the University of Texas and is based in the United States.
 
I’ve just left COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The UNFCCC COP in Paris three years ago had the Eiffel Tower in its logo - today, we are still living in the shadow of Paris in the negotiations.

I’ve been tracking water in the COP process since COP15 in 2009. The period in between has seen vast changes in the recognition and presence of “water” as a voice in the UNFCCC. Back then, my first impression was that everyone was talking about water impacts but no one seemed to realize that they were constantly referring to water management decisions. Water was present but the water community was invisible.

The next year - 2010 - was the Cancun, Mexico, conference. Water was covered in a single unofficial side event organized by the World Bank; water was figuratively outside of the COP — but literally as well, some 20 km away from the negotiations. But word was leaking out. The message that climate adaptation for people and ecosystems was largely about water began to permeate the COP.

The 2015 Paris Agreement marked a huge transition. Overall, we had a clear framework for talking about both emissions and adaptation at national and global levels. Although water was not named in the Paris Agreement, the water community for the first time began communicating with largely one voice through #ClimateIsWater, while the French, Moroccans, Germans, Dutch, and others sponsored the first UNFCCC Water Action Day to recognize how the UNFCCC is in many ways really the first global water and climate convention — water for clean energy, for carbon sequestration, and for effective and enduring climate adaptation.

Making Polish Sausage at COP24: How Much Can We See?

This year - last Friday - we celebrated the third year of having water formally engaged, with extensive water events looking at climate mitigation and adaptation and how the water community can help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Many of our messages from 2009 and 2010 have become truisms - almost throwaway lines.

But the Paris shadow is long and dark, at least in places. So far, negotiators have not agreed on the urgency of action. The US and many Persian Gulf states have effectively opposed endorsement of the IPCC’s 1.5 degree report. The role of climate change in human migration and displacement remains deeply controversial and sensitive. And many countries are struggling with meeting and clarifying their national goals - the Nationally Determined Contributions to global targets, or NDCs - even as they must revise their first five-year targets to prepare for new, more hopefully more rigorous targets in 2020. The broad aspirations of Paris are becoming more pressing and also need to become more specific and strict. That transition is the challenge now facing negotiators this week.

Water too is facing new challenges. I was the only “sectoral” specialist to speak in an official UNFCCC event on water and finance. Most of the other speakers celebrated new finance vehicles for clean energy and mobilizing large pools of capital for climate mitigation. Only a few also mentioned adaptation.

My turn came to speak. I began by stating that the discussion had largely focused on the quantity of investment, but we had said almost nothing about the quality of that investment. Systemic risks were present in our investment frameworks if we did not recognize that the deep uncertainties in water management for both mitigation and adaptation threatened our ability to achieve most climate goals. Only within the past few years had the water community had only just begun to coalesce and promote methods to address these uncertainties, but few financial institutions recognized these concerns as significant issues. Thus, the finance community needed to use funding vehicles to signal to broader markets and decision makers that our long-term climate security and investment paradigm must float on a pool of resilient water resource for robustness and flexibility.

My points, however, were not heard.

I was silenced - my microphone turned off by the chair before I had finished my talking points. The moderator looked harshly at me: “These are not investment issues and thus not relevant to this discussion.”

Water still has some way to flow, some opposition to erode.

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China Officials Trumpet Water Conservancy Successes

BEIJING

China has made headway in pushing major water conservancy projects amid efforts to enhance capacity on flood control, drought relief, as well as food and ecological security, a senior official said. Some 132 key water conservancy projects have been under construction since 2014, with the total investment exceeding one trillion yuan (about 146 billion U.S.

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Mekedatu Dam Project May Destroy Forests, Elephant Access Corridor

BENGALURU

On Friday, Karnataka Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar the visited site where the proposed Mekedatu dam would be constructed. Ahead of his visit, engineers from the Water Resource Department had already visited Mekedatu and began the demarcation of land required for the construction of the dam.

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Undersea Water Pipe To Supply Thailand Island

CHON BURI

Officials are planning to lay an undersea pipe to pump water to Koh Lan, a scenic islet off Pattaya, in a fresh bid to solve the severe water shortage there. If the project is given the green light, several thousand local residents and tourists will have enough running water at cheaper prices, Suthat Nutpan, the Provincial Waterworks Authority's manager for its branch in Pattaya, said.

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Long Term Strategy For Conservation Of Kashmir Water Bodies

JAMMU

As a long-term strategy for conservation of prominent water bodies in the state, including Dal Lake, Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi rivers from pollution hazards, and for the restoration of pristine glory of twin capital cities namely, Jammu and Srinagar, the Government will develop Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) of adequate capacities.

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20-Year Master Plan For Thailand Water Management

BANGKOK

The 20-year master plan for the country's water management system is expected to win approval by the national committee on water resources on Dec 19 after which it will be implemented, Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said Thursday. The master plan was approved by the government's sub-committee on strategies for water resources management, said Gen Chatchai.

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India To Proceed With Punjab Dam, Water Flow To Pakistan Will Be Hit

NEW DELHI

The Centre on Thursday approved implementation of the Shahpurkandi Dam project on the Ravi in Punjab. The move will allow India to use the water which at present goes “waste” flowing through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan. Once completed in June 2022, it will improve irrigation potential of farmers in Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab.

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Nepal And WWF Create Artificial Wetland

RAMAULI

An artificial wetland is being developed at Ramauli Pratappur of Parsa National Park to conserve wildlife. The park authority and Tarai Arc Landscape (TAL) Programme of the World Wildlife Fund have built a 345-metre long dam at Ramauli Pratappur to create a marsh land that would spread over an area of 200 bighas.

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Veolia Exec Fauchon Is WWC Prez Again

KATOWICE, Poland

The Board of Governors of the World Water Council (WWC) has unanimously elected Loïc Fauchon as its new president, succeding Brazilian Benedito Braga. Fauchon was previously WWC president from 2005 to 2012, and has now been re-elected in 2018. Fauchon is also president of Eaux de Marseille in France, a subsidiary of Veolia, the international water and waste conglomerate.The returning WWC president will have an opportunity to describe WWC priorities December 7 at COP24 in Poland at a special water event where he is scheduled to offer concluding remarks.

WaterAid Calls For COP Recognition Of WASH As Part Of Climate Change Adaptation

KATOWICE, Poland

Sudan, Niger and Pakistan are the top 3 countries with the most threatened water supply, based on new analysis by Water Aid of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative measures of access to water, climate patterns and water usage rates.

Thailand: Tourism Drains Drinking Water Resources In Famous Phi Phi Islands

PHI PHI ISLANDS

Just days after Thailand’s world renowned Phi Phi Islands were praised for their environmental recovery, new details have emerged about the drinking water crisis in the holiday archipelago. A research team from Thailand’s Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Engineering found that the growing number of visitors to Phi Phi Don has put a severe strain on the island’s limited freshwater sources.

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Japan Flirts With Water Privatization

TOKYO

The Upper House on Wednesday passed a controversial bill by a majority vote to revise the Water Supply Act to allow private companies to run municipal water services. The government and the ruling coalition aim to pass the bill in the Lower House plenary session Thursday, but opposition parties fear it could lead to effectively privatizing the water supply business.

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ADB Supports Kyrgyz Republic Efforts Climate Change Adaptation Efforts

BISHKEK, Kyrgyz Republic

The Kyrgyz Republic is to benefit from $38.6 Million USD loan and grant funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to modernize irrigation systems, improve agriculture and land management, strengthen disaster risk management, and enhance data collection and analysis.

Honduras: Seven Convicted Of Murder Of Respected Anti-Dam Activist Berta Caceres

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

A court in Honduras has found seven men guilty of the murder of renowned environmental activist Berta Caceres who was shot dead in her home by gunmen in 2016 after receiving death threats for her opposition to the Aqua Zarca hydro-electric dam.

Judges at the court in Tegucigalpa November 29 said two officials from the construction firm Desa - Sergio Rodríguez and Douglas Bustillo - had helped organize the killing along with former soldier Mariano Díaz. Desa has strongly denied any involvement in the murder.

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Increased World Bank Commitment Gives Equal Emphasis To Climate Adaptation, Mitigation

Washington DC, United States

As the world’s governments meet in Katowice, Poland for COP24, The World Bank Group has announced a new set of climate targets for 2021-2025 with a key priority described by the Bank as boosting support for climate adaptation, recognizing that millions of people across the world are already facing the severe consequences of more extreme weather events.

Two Million Gallon Balochistan Desal Plant Lies Idle

QUETTA

The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms here on Thursday expressed its annoyance over the non-functioning of two million gallons desalination plant at Karwat in Gwadar and asked the department concerned of the provincial government of Balochistan to submit a detailed report.

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