ADB flagship water program increases investments three-fold

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According to the Asia Water Watch 2015 published in 2005, the Asia-Pacific region needs $8 billion in annual investments to meet the tenth Millennium Development Goal: to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

In response, the Asian Development Bank launched in 2006 its Water Financing Program which aimed to increase the bank’s water investments between $2 billion and $2.5 billion annually to reach a total investment of $10 billion by the end of 2010. Under the WFP’s initial phase from 2006 to 2010, ADB’s water investments increased nearly three-fold compared to the previous five years. From an estimated $3.95 billion for 2001 to 2005, the bank’s water investments reached $11.44 billion for 2006 to 2010 – exceeding the $10 billion target.

In last week’s 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit, ADB President Takehiko Nakao confirmed that the bank continues to implement the WFP in order to reach the target of $20 billion-$25 billion total water investments by 2020. Supported by the Water Financing Partnership Facility, the program has the following key investment areas:

  • Rural water– Focuses on improving health and livelihood in rural areas, which includes funding for water supply access and sanitation, and irrigation and drainage.

  • Urban water –Sustains economic growth in cities by investing in water supply access and sanitation, and waste water management.

  • Basin water – Promotes integrated water resources management through investments in the infrastructure and management of multifunctional water regulation and hydropower facilities, flood management, and watershed and wetlands conservation.

According to analysts, the surge in ADB’s water spending is well-timed as a growing population, rapid urbanization, and erratic weather patterns have worsened Asia’s water insecurity. According to ADB estimates, more than 60 percent of households in Asia do not have access to clean water and sanitation, and 80 percent of the region’s rivers are polluted.

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About the author

  • Juan Carlos Concepcion

    Juan Carlos is a former analyst at the Devex Manila Office. A strong advocate of civic education, he also teaches undergraduate courses on Philippine politics and governance.