How Does Asia and the Pacific Measure Up? -----
Economic water security is more uniform across the region than the other key dimensions, although each region has considerable potential to improve wate...
r productivity in the three areas of economic activity measured. Overall, agriculture accounts for more than 79% of total water withdrawn in the region and will therefore remain a major determinant of overall economic water security.29 However, the fastest increase in water demand in Asia is now coming not from agriculture but from the industry sector and urban households, in keeping with the fact that this continent has become the seat of the world’s fastest industrialization and urbanization.Indicator values are generally below 7 out of 10 in each of the subsectors (Figure 9), indicating the potential to improve water security through combinations of well-targeted investments in infrastructure and improved management. Only East Asia exceeded an assessment of 20 out of 30. South Asia has the lowest economic water security (17 out of 30).
Figure 9 summarizes the subregional economic water security index. All the subregions are assessed as either capable or effective (Table 2), with index values in the range of 3–4 (Figure 10). This is unsurprising, as governments, private sector entities, and individuals expend considerable resources to support economic growth. Although these assessments present a generally encouraging view, however, the consolidated regional and national results disguise areas of concern revealed by country statistics (Appendix 3). Water is or is likely to become a constraint on economic growth in a number of countries unless a renewed effort is directed toward ensuring water availability in adequate quantities and qualities. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for example, an estimated 2.3% of gross domestic product is lost because of water scarcity (1.3%) and the direct effects of water pollution (1%).
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