Water Uncertainties and Production Risksin Asia
, Asian Development Bank
A major challenge facing the agricultural production systems in Asia is that foodrequirement by 2050 will more than double its present level. Yet, land and waterresources are shrinking and downstream flows of many Asian rivers and volumes offreshwater lakes have been drastically reduced and some streams no longer reach thesea year-round (Ali, 2012). Water resources uncertainties (WRU) limit (i) our abilityto do accurate planning and design and optimal operation of water resources, (ii)continued performance of the agricultural production systems (APS), (iii) expansionof agricultural land, and (iv) achieving sustained increase in crop yield to meet futurefood demand in many areas. The WRU combined with biophysical and agro-climatefactors add risks to the agricultural production system. This paper reviews the mainWRU and the major corresponding APS risks. It also sheds some light on possibleoptions available to overcome these challenges.
Water Resource Uncertainties and their Effects
The illusion of abundant water in nature is checked by the scale realities of too muchor too little or too polluted or too expensive to use. Human and ecosystems needs arenot matched by available freshwater resources because of their skewed distribution inspace and time. WRU occur because of (i) inherent randomness of physical processes,
(ii) change drivers,
(iii) global warming and climate change, (iv) water assessmentand predictions complexities,
and (v) economic
factors. All these factors combinedpose challenges to accurately plan, design and operate the water resources systems(WRS).
The author is Senior Water Resources Specialist, at Central and West Asia Department of AsianDevelopment Bank (ADB) Manila, Philippines. This paper is prepared for presentation in Stockholm World Water Week(26–31 August 2012).
Precipitation, hydrological process, streams hydraulics, failure of major structures, soil-moisture distribution, weather and evapotranspiration all have elements of inherent randomness.
population growth, land use changes, urbanization and migration from rural to urban areas
data inadequacy and inaccuracy, gaps in analysis and design processes and spatial and temporal scales
Economic uncertainties are generated by construction costs, damage costs, projected revenue, operation andmaintenance costs, inflation, inconvenience losses, etc.