Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Issue paper

Managing water scarcity in Asia and the Pacific - A summary: Trends, experiences and recommendations for a resilient future

In the Asia–Pacific region, water resources form the basis of agrarian prosperity and economic development. However, increasing water demand due to population growth, rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, and a changing climate undermine those water resources. Like many parts of the world, Asia–Pacific faces increasing water scarcity, with varying characteristics, causes and trends across a diverse range of countries at different stages of development.

Understanding of the spatial and temporal differences in water scarcity across the region is, however, limited, and while policies and management strategies are under development in all countries, their effectiveness varies significantly. Responses to water scarcity are often reacting to acute issues such as drought or conflicts between competing water users; while regional and national level policies exist in most cases, they often lack subsidiary legislation, program development or the resources needed for successful implementation.

The main objective of the present study was to develop an understanding of the dynamics of water scarcity across Asia–Pacific and how countries manage that scarcity—ultimately informing more effective management approaches that can be scaled across the region.

FAO; Australian Water Partnership (AWP)
Asia & Pacific