ISLAMABAD (APP): Overall water security in Asia and Pacific has progressed in the past 5 years, but major challenges remain, including overexploited groundwater, demand from rising populations, and climate variability, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The new edition of the Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO 2016) provides a snapshot of the water security status of 48 of the region's countries, using latest data sets.
According to data, the number of countries assessed as water insecure has dropped to 29, compared to 38 (out of 49 countries) identified in the previous issue of the report in 2013.
The report cites that in Asia and the Pacific, 1.7 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.
Recent estimates suggest that by 2050, 3.4 billion people could be living in water-stressed areas in Asia and the Pacific while water demand will increase by 55%.
AWDO 2016 assesses water security in 5 key dimensions - namely household access, economic viability, urban services, restoring rivers and ecosystems, and resilience to water-related disasters.
According to the report, the relationship between water security and the economy can be a virtuous - or a vicious - circle.
"There is a strong relationship between water management and the economy, and investments in good water management can be considered as a longer term payback for increased growth and poverty reduction," the publication says.
"Water-related investments can increase economic productivity and growth, while economic growth provides the resources to invest in institutions and capital-intensive water infrastructure."