Asia’s largest cities, including Delhi, lack water security

What is the News?

Researchers have found that urban water security in Asian cities including Delhi is in decline, forcing them to find new ways to manage this precious resource.

Water Scarcity in Asian Cities

The global mega cities like Tokyo, Shanghai, and Delhi are the symbol of the rise of the new Asian century as they are the three biggest in the world, engines of economic growth, producing billions in economic activity for their residents and the world.

But they have a serious problem i.e. there is not enough fresh water available per person for their daily needs.

Why is there water scarcity in Asian Cities?

Less Freshwater: In Asia, there is half as much freshwater as there is globally. For example, over-exploitation in Bangkok, Thailand, has severely reduced groundwater levels causing land to subside.

Low Water Efficiency: Despite the comparatively large amount of water used in agriculture production, water efficiency in Asia is among the lowest in the world and low water productivity results in low crop yields.

Environmental Degradation: Population and economic growth have led to environmental degradation. Existing water supplies simply can’t keep up with the growing needs. The issue is exacerbated by climate change where extreme weather events such as drought and floods are becoming more common.

– For example, Hanoi, Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing cities in terms of GDP growth, contributing more than 19% of the country’s total GDP. The repercussions of this growth are felt directly in its polluted lakes and rivers due to wastewater from residential and industrial areas.

What are the suggestions given by experts to overcome water scarcity in Asia?

Adopt Water Assessment Framework: Integrated urban water security assessment framework can be used to assess the full spectrum of a city’s urban water security by considering the driving forces that can impact it.

Incentives for Water management: Cities can embrace new ways to manage water. For example, Bangkok has adopted incentives for water management to include the treatment of wastewater at the household level before being released into public water sources.

Stop Water Supply loss: There is an urgent need for plans to stop water supply losses due to leaking pipes which will also increase productivity. These include enhancing financial sustainability through water tariffs, installing new metering devices, attempting to detect unauthorized usage in water pipelines, and using monitoring systems.

Source: The post is based on the article “Asia’s largest cities, including Delhi, lack water security” published in Down To Earth on 27th June 2022.

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