The Asia Development Bank (ADB) raised it water operations budget to $4.2 billion for projects mitigating effects of rapid population growth and climate change in the Asia Pacific region, the bank said yesterday.
The new budget nearly doubles last year’s $2.4 billion allocated to water management. The funds will be used for projects related to water supply such as irrigation, flood management and hydropower projects as well as climate finance on adaptation and mitigation.
Amy Leung, deputy director general and chief thematic officer at the ADB, explained during an event in Japan for the organisation’s 50th annual meeting that the region will be increasingly subject to rising demands for food, energy and water in the coming years.
By 2050, demand for food is set to increase by 50 percent, while energy demands will grow by 66 percent and water demands by 55 percent, she said.
“The water situation will get worse and 3.4 billion people in this region will be living in water-stressed areas by 2050,” she added.
According to the ADB’s latest development outlook, Asia is home to around half of the world’s poorest people. The same report adds that 80 percent of all water resources in Asia are used for agriculture while 1.7 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.
Leung said the ADB is working to reduce strains on water resources in the region by promoting more innovative forms of technology for water projects, such as remote sensing technology, irrigations systems and wastewater treatment technologies.
Vijay Padmanabhan, urban technical adviser at the ADB, explained that innovations like remote sensing technologies are powerful tools that can significantly improve understanding of how much water is available for use and who is using it.
He said that a research team from the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education is working with the ADB on a study in several countries, including Cambodia, to better understand usage of water resources through remote sensing techniques.