Monday, May 20, 2013

Bold action, big money needed to curb Asia floods

Space Daily via AFP: Asia's flood-prone megacities should fund major drainage, water recycling and waste reduction projects to stem deluges and secure clean supply for their booming populations, experts said Sunday.

Rapid urbanisation has heaped pressure on water resources and drainage systems across Asia, leaving low-lying areas exposed to massive floods such as those that paralysed Jakarta and Manila last year and central Thailand in 2011.

"The lust for land -- driven by urbanisation -- is narrowing drainage across most Asian cities so even small amounts of rainfall can cause massive problems," Kulwant Singh of the UN-HABITAT said at a water security forum in Thailand.

Citing the estimated $45 billion cost of the kingdom's catastrophic floods in late 2011, Singh said "there should be no question" of governments paying for big infrastructure projects to protect cities. "If ten years of wealth is suddenly wiped out, it makes sense to spend a fraction of that on long-term prevention," he added, urging consideration for ambitious prevention schemes.

Flood management has been in focus in Thailand since the 2011 floods, which inundated swathes of the country for months, deluged parts of the capital and tool a heavy toll on its lucrative manufacturing base....

Thailand flooding in October, 2011, photo by Voice of America

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