Water resource management
Water resource management initiatives
Agriculture currently accounts for around 80 per cent of total water withdrawn in the Indo-Pacific region. With the demand for food and animal feed crops predicted to grow by 70 to 100 per cent over the next 50 years, pressure on water resources will continue to intensify, often to unsustainable levels, unless greatly improved water management practices can be introduced.
Groundwater supplies nearly half of all drinking water in the world and around 43 per cent of all water effectively consumed in irrigation. However, groundwater extraction rates have at least tripled over the past 50 years, increasing fears of unsustainable use. Some Pacific countries face numerous challenges with respect to freshwater resources, including pollution, saline intrusion into groundwater, soil erosion and managing waste water.
The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) is an Australian Government initiative, established to share Australia's water management practices with countries in the Indo-Pacific region so as to build capacity and improve sustainable water management. The AWP supports projects that improve: water use in agriculture and rapidly growing urban centres; and the management of river basins, catchments and water for the environment. The AWP will work with the World Bank (Water Global Practice) and Asian Development Bank and public and private sector water organisations in Australia.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is the only inter-governmental agency that works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam on their common specific interests–joint management of shared water resources and sustainable development of the Mekong River.
Established in 2009, the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) is a multi-donor partnership between the World Bank and the governments of United Kingdom, Australia and Norway. The overarching objective of SAWI is to: increase regional cooperation in the management of the major Himalayan river systems in South Asia to deliver sustainable, fair and inclusive development and climate resilience.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre, based in and serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Globalization and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues.