A water development report published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) last month urges regions across Asia and the Pacific to prioritise water security as part of their COVID-19 recovery initiative to support economic growth and increase social well-being.
Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2020 outlines water sustainability progress and identifies areas which are in need of greater water security to guide future investment decisions and assist Asia in achieving their United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
ADB President, Masatsugu Asakawa said: “AWDO has become a reference for water policy reform and investment planning. ADB’s developing members are increasingly elevating water security in their development agendas and applying AWDO principles to formulate effective national and subnational water policies”.
He added: “The new AWDO edition serves as a tangible and reliable knowledge resource for ADB’s developing members as they address the multifaceted challenges of water security.”
Despite water security achievements in Asia and the Pacific region, evidence from the AWDO 2020 reported that 1.5bn people living in rural areas and 600m in urban areas still lack adequate access to clean water and sanitation.
The pandemic has exacerbated the need for greater water security measures. According to the AWDO 2020, three billion people across Asia have been hit hard by the virus as a result of having no access to water for hygiene and sanitation purposes, making the need for water security even more significant.
To help improve the region’s water security, ADB has programmed more than $6bn in financial and technical assistance between 2020 and 2022 to make safe water and sanitation more accessible and to support wastewater measures.
In the same period, ADB have also programmed more than $2bn to support flood risk management services.