Asian Water Development Outlook 2013

Publication | April 2013

Three in four nations in Asia and the Pacific face water security issues, with many of them being threatened by an imminent crisis unless immediate action is taken.

  • US$29.00 (paperback)

Water security in Asia and the Pacific is under threat from many sources: population growth, urbanization, increasing water pollution, the over-abstraction of groundwater, water-related disasters, and climate change. Current planning and management have proven insufficient to address the challenges of meeting society's diverse needs for water.

Improving agricultural water productivity, achieving energy objectives, satisfying growing industrial water requirements, and protecting water quality and vitally important natural ecosystems are challenges we still face. The social, economic, and political consequences of water shortages are real, as are the effects of water-related disasters exacerbated by climate change.

This second edition of the Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) provides the first quantitative and comprehensive view of water security in the countries of Asia and the Pacific. By focusing on critical water issues, AWDO 2013 provides finance and planning leaders with recommendations on policy actions to improve water governance and guidance on investments to increase their country's water security.

Key Messages

  • Make the best use of already developed water resources by investing in and incentivizing 'reduce, reuse, recycle' systems;
  • Unlock the performance of water utilities through corporatization;
  • Invest in better sanitation to boost health, productivity, and the economy;
  • Mobilize rural communities for equitable and just access to water and sanitation;
  • Embrace the challenge of the water-food-energy nexus;
  • Manage groundwater as a valuable and limited resource;
  • Revitalize irrigation institutions for transformation of irrigation services;
  • Make integrated water resources management a priority;
  • Mobilize additional resources to clean up rivers;
  • Create insurance mechanisms to minimize reliance on disaster relief; and
  • New problems demand institutions crafted for current challenges.

Water Security in Five Dimensions

AWDO measures water security in five key dimensions because a single focus on any one of these is insufficient to guide decisions or assess outcomes in the water sector. The AWDO vision of water security is designed to represent the multiple dimensions of water in People's lives and livelihoods, with poverty reduction and governance as crosscutting perspectives in each of the five dimensions.

  • Household Water Security
  • Economic Water Security
  • Urban Water Security
  • Environmental Water Security
  • Resilience to Water-Related Disasters


Water governance plays a central role in boosting water security in each of the five key dimensions, and also in managing the trade-offs between the dimensions. It is an intersectoral process that requires leaders to break through silos, to span boundaries, and to create a positive nexus among water, food, and energy security. This process is known as integrated water resources management (IWRM), and most countries in the region have already adopted policies and legislation to support its implementation.

There are, however, no one-size-fits-all solutions across the region. Rather, the appropriate solutions in each country will reflect the country's resource endowment, economic development, culture, and chosen development path. As the national water security assessments in AWDO 2013 demonstrate, there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity for integrated planning and management nationally as well as in river basins and cities.


  • Foreword by the Asian Development Bank
  • Foreword by the Asia-Pacific Water Forum
  • Foreword by the Global Water Partnership
  • About the Asian Water Development Outlook
  • Taking Stock: An Objective Framework for Water Security
  • Taking the Pulse: Measures of Water Security and Policy Levers
  • Taking the Lead: Key Messages to Increase Water Security
  • Appendixes: Measuring Progress toward Water Security

Additional Details

  • Water
  • Water Resource Management
  • BKK135522-3
  • 978-92-9092-988-8 (print)
  • 978-92-9092-989-5 (electronic)

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