Water Operational Plan 2011-2020

ADB's Water Operational Plan 2011–2020, developed in consultation with a wide range of water stakeholders from the region, provides guidance to ADB's regional departments in defining their respective in-country water operations to 2020 and beyond. It aims to improve effectiveness and enhance the quality of the outcomes of ADB's water operations.

Core elements

The Plan has three core elements:

  • Deepening and expanding analytical work to improve the informational basis for sound and timely decision making. Priorities include preparation of a new breed of country water assessments and undertaking a study on “The Future of Water in Asia”
  • Advancing inclusive policy reforms that facilitate greater efficiency in water use, expanded sanitation coverage and wastewater treatment and reuse, and  tightened link of water to food and energy
  • Strengthening support to priority programs and projects and sustaining annual public investment levels at $2-2.5 billion during the period 2011-2020 or a total of $20-25 billion by end of 2020, plus attracting much more private sector investment and expertise to accelerate results.

The Plan considers the multi-dimensional nature of the region’s water crisis. This includes consideration of the complex and related issue of closing the water supply and demand gap. This also means maintaining good water quality, expanding and improving wastewater management and sanitation services, recognizing and managing the water-food-energy nexus, and mitigating climate change impacts.

Priority solutions

To address the region’s water challenges, the Plan puts forward these priority solutions:

  • Increased efficiencies in water use across the range of users
  • Expanded wastewater management and re-use, including sanitation
  • Embedded integrated water resources management, including improved risk management to mitigate floods, droughts, and other water-related disasters
  • Expanded knowledge and capacity development that uses technology and innovation more directly
  • Enhanced partnerships with the private sector

These priority solutions are the current focus of the Water Financing Program and will be reflected in the design of ADB water projects from 2011 onwards in a number of ways, such as

  • Urban water supply projects will seek reductions in nonrevenue water and will give preference to water providers that are autonomous (and accountable), or corporatized, or in the process of being corporatized, or prepared to apply business principles in their operation. Experience reveals that business-oriented water utility management achieves substantive service improvements and expansion
  • Irrigation water projects will focus on boosting efficiency, capturing more “crop per drop”
  • All IWRM projects will address disaster management and the water-energy-food nexus
  • Capacity development programs will seek to achieve sustainable continuing professional development for targeted government agencies in developing member countries
  • There will be more wastewater and sanitation projects, including river cleanups that maximize use of technology advancements
  • More private sector involvement not only in providing investment but also in using their managerial and technological expertise.

Expected impacts

By reshaping its project designs, ADB expects the following impacts in the next decade:

  • accelerated policy and institutional reforms
  • increased efficiency in water use
  • increased coverage and improved service levels for water supply and sanitation, and irrigation and drainage
  • accelerated and expanded implementation of IWRM

The Plan’s ultimate impact will be water resources managed sustainably and water services delivered efficiently.

Read the plan.