Urban water security/ Per capita gross domestic product (2009 $) ------ What Is at Stake ------
Urban water security is an indicator of the livability of towns and cities. For many cities, rapid urba...
n population growth has outpaced the investment capacity of the urban administrations. Moreover, with some cities now reaching the limits of economic exploitation of sustainable water resources, it is becoming crucial to consider a wider diversity of approaches in the water sector in these cities. Emerging approaches being adopted include demand management and development of alternative and novel sources of water, such as recycled water for use as drinking water and increased recycling of water for industrial and agricultural applications. These technologies and approaches will require new infrastructure, including both centralized and decentralized systems, that promotes a fit-for-purpose approach to matching water usage with water quality standards (footnote 48).
It is becoming evident that the more heavily polluted a country allows its water bodies to become, the greater will be the cost to the community in terms of health impacts, economic losses, and treatment costs. In South Asia and East Asia, because of their large populations, expanding cities, and growing industry sector, governments are recognizing the need for better enforcement of pollution control laws and for substantial investment in treatment facilities to reduce pollution loads and to restore river systems. However, progress is slow, and sustained political leadership and commitment of resources will be required to reverse the deterioration of water bodies. Figure 14 suggests a correlation between urban water security and per capita gross domestic product, a relationship that may be expected to strengthen as urban economies become more dominant in the region.
Lack of universal access to potable water, limited capacity of properly functioning wastewater treatment facilities, and lack of adequate flood management measures continue to plague much of Asia. Water bodies are being overexploited, as both sources of water and also as means of wastewater disposal. Rivers have been degraded by overextraction and pollution, and entire ecosystems have been damaged, with negative impacts on biodiversity and the lifestyle of people in the area. In the face of growing concern over climate change, energy and food security, and the sustainability of development advances, managing these issues in the search for livable cities has become more urgent and compelling.
----- Source: For gross domestic product data, World Bank. World Development Indicators. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD.
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