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Water articles are written by ADB staff and external contributors on various water issues, reforms, and good practices.
10 Years of Bringing Water to All: ADB Water Projects 2001-2010
From 2001-2010, ADB's total investments in rural, urban, and basin water reached more than US$9 billion for 184 projects. RURAL WATER PROJECTS Asia needs more water for irrigating crops, better drainage to prevent floods, drinking water within reasonable reach of people's homes, and simple sanitation. Governments and private sector investors tend to give these kinds of improvements low priority, though, simply because the economic returns on their investments are not high enough. However, the return is huge for the individuals who are spared from dry fields, floods, hours of walking for water, and unsanitary environments around their home. In the past 10 years, ADB spent US$1.7 billion for 50 rural water projects. Some of these are: Pakistan: Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (2002) - The project provided safe drinking water and drainage facilities to about 800,000 people through simple, low-cost subprojects that used the community-based approach. The primary beneficiaries were women and children from 335 mostly poor and remote villages in Punjab's seven priority districts. The monitoring of the project has shown impressive results, including a more than 90% reduction in reported water-related diseases, an average increased household income of 24%, and as much as an 80% increase in the school enrollment of children. Indonesia: Community Water Services and Health Project (2006) - A US$64.7 million innovative loan-based investment that involves rural communities in the planning, financing, implementation and upkeep of new water supply and sanitation facilities. Out of a total 6 million people in the project area, 1.2 million (the entire population estimated to be living under or near the poverty line) are targeted for gaining access to the new facilities. India: Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project (2007) - Aimed to attain more effective management irrigation systems for improved irrigation service delivery, this US$46.1M project is also improving agricultural practices for increased yields, expand area of rabi (dry season), and more diversified cropping. In 25 pilot systems, cropping intensity reached 100% in the current season. Average rice yields increased to 4.01 tons per hectare in 20 pilot schemes during the kharif season. Twenty WUAs supported by the project sold 303.5, 26 and 148 MT of wheat, ground nuts and maize to the private sector in 2009. URBAN WATER PROJECTS If cities are the engines of a country's economic growth, then water is the oil that keeps those engines running. Common among many Asian cities, though, is the fact that water shortage and pollution are stunting growth, making it more expensive to do business and do it efficiently.
Water could also be helping raise urban economic standards of living. Inside the miserable housing conditions of city slums are the bulk of the city's workforce. Yet they are the ones often faced with the worst domestic water and sanitation conditions. Their ability to live healthy, productive, and efficient lives must be secured and preserved for their own sake as well the economy's. Some US$4.8 billion of ADB's water investments in 2001-2010 went to 87 urban water projects. These include: Azerbaijan: Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (2001) Dramatic improvements in Azerbaijan's water supply and sanitation services will be felt by the urban populace come 2010. This project, to benefit 147,000 people in the towns of Goychay, Agdash, and Nakhchivan, provides access to adequate potable water at low costs by 2010 through WSS improvements and new infrastructure. It also promotes institutional reform and capacity building through private sector participation, the establishment of joint stock companies in each of the towns and community involvement through water user associations. Philippines: Implementing Pilot Projects for Small-Piped Water Networks (2005) - This project demonstrated the speedy delivery of piped water supply to urban or peri-urban areas in India, Philippines, and Viet Nam using small-piped water networks (SPWNs). Small piped water networks are viable, innovative, inexpensive, and empowering interim solutions for bringing water to Asia's urban slums. These networks can be quickly set up and some are able to provide 24x7 service, which users have proven they are willing to pay. BASIN WATER PROJECTS Across Asia, vast river basins support thriving agricultural communities, but are saddled by flooding, frequent droughts, reduced agricultural production, and declining biodiversity. To reverse such damage, governments and communities are introducing new ways of managing and sharing water resources. Often, this requires setting up a basic legal framework that determines who has the authority to manage the basin, which may comprise rivers, lakes, forests and wetlands, and encompass cities as well as vast agricultural tracts. For many basins, these issues are further complicated by ecosystems that cut across administrative and, in some cases, national, boundaries. ADB's water investments targeting developments in river basins in the past decade amount to US$2.7 billion. Some of the 47 projects are:
Cambodia: Tonle Sap Initiative (2002) - This partnership project involves ADB, development agencies, international organizations, and NGOs undertaking specific actions to address the twin problems of poverty and environmental degradation of the lake. The government has also created community fishing zones covering 100,000 hectares, empowering communities to manage local fisheries. This holds the prospect of reversing deforestation and illegal fishing while providing increased food security for poor fishers. People's Republic of China: Sanjiang Plain Wetlands Protection (2004) - The $54 million Sanjiang Plains Wetlands Protection Project is the first ADB loan for the restoration of wetlands. The project adopts an integrated watershed and wetland management approach. Specifically, it dealt with four main threats to the plain. These include changes in hydrology and desiccation; the conversion of wetland to farmland; the inappropriate use of resources; and a limited capacity for conservation on nature reserves. Indonesia: Integrated Citarum Water Resources Management Project - The Citarum River Basin is home to about 9 million people and irrigates around 390,000 hectares of rice. More than 85% of the basin's water is used for irrigation and supplies some 80% of Jakarta's raw water. Yet inadequate institutional arrangements, deteriorating infrastructure, competing water demands from agriculture, and rapid urban and industrial growth have led to severe water supply shortages and unhealthy environmental conditions throughout the basin. ADB's new Multitranche Financing Facility (MFF) is providing flexible funding for the complex array of interlinked problems affecting the Citarum basin. Under it, ADB is helping put together a 10-15 year program that will deal with these problems in an integrated manner. WATER PROJECTS IN THE NEXT DECADE ADB's Water Operational Framework 2011-2020, to be launched at the upcoming Water: Crisis and Choices—ADB and Partners Conference 2010 in October, will guide ADB's future water work, still committed to bringing Water for All in the Asia and Pacific region.
*This article was first published online at ADB's Water for All website in September 2010: http://www.adb.org/water/Articles/2010/10yrs-bringing-water-to-all.asp.
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