Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Asia, wealth buys access to clean water

PhilStar (Philippines): Ninety-one percent of people living in Asia have improved access to clean water, a remarkable achievement over the last two decades in the world's most populous region. But its richest countries and wealthiest citizens likely have better water supplies and governments better prepared for natural disasters.

The assessments made by the Asian Development Bank in a study published Wednesday say countries in the region could be disproportionally affected by the potential impact of climate change if they did not rethink how they manage their water resources. Nearly half of the deaths caused by water-related disasters and 90 percent of people affected by such disasters from 1980 to 2006 lived in Asia, the report said.

Developed nations like Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Japan top the list of nations best prepared to cope with floods, droughts, hurricanes, storm surges and landslides, while Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Tajikistan, the Pacific nation of Vanuatu and Bangladesh are the least prepared.

No country in the Asia-Pacific region is a model for its management of water services and resources, according to the Manila-based lending and development institution, whose aim is cutting poverty. Thirty-eight developing countries have low levels of water security or have barely begun to improve, and only 11 have set up infrastructure and management systems…

An 1852 decorative map of Asia

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