ADB to Help Improve Water Management in Urban Centers of 3 South Asian Countries

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping select urban centers in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka improve water management to enhance economic opportunities and reduce waterborne diseases.

The project is funded through an $850,000 grant from the Investment Climate Facilitation Fund established by the Government of Japan last year under the Regional Cooperation and Integration Financing Partnership Facility, which supports technical assistance projects.

Intermittent water supplies are the norm in South Asian urban centers. There are no strategies to make water available 24 hours a day, which is one of the most important objectives in urban water management system. This has resulted in water contamination and wastage, unreliable metering, and burst pipes.

Through the technical assistance, up to 30 urban centers in the three South Asian countries will acquire technology and expertise in managing the water sector. They will develop a better understanding of key policy parameters for water security and reduce risks and vulnerabilities caused by lack of understanding and knowledge of the water sector.

To achieve these objectives, the technical assistance will determine geographical and population coverage of service areas in the chosen urban centers, assess if drinking water supply complies with acceptable quality standards, and if wastewater management affects the quality of groundwater, aquifers, and other water sources.

The project will also determine the levels of non-revenue water, operational efficiencies, and operations management system of the select urban centers.

"Proper assessment, planning, and management of water-related issues require reliable data on critical factors related to urban water security," said KyeongAe Choe, principal urban development specialist of ADB's South Asia Department.

"To improve urban water management, water security in South Asian urban centers needs to be properly assessed and reliable information shared. But this is not an easy task due to inconsistencies and differing definitions of terms and formats in gathering data, as well as the processes used in collecting and analyzing data," she added.

The technical assistance will address critical issues identified based on experience from past ADB-financed projects; recommendations of the Asian Water Development Outlook 2007, which provide insights on achieving water security in Asia and the Pacific; and continuous consultations with concerned government agencies in South Asia.