Asia's Next Challenge: Securing the Region's Water Future

Publication Date: April 2009

Publisher: Asia Society


Research Area: Environment; Social conditions

Keywords: National security; Water conservation; Water scarcity; Freshwater

Type: Report

Coverage: Asia


The report argues that decreased access to a safe, stable water supply in Asia will have a profound impact on security throughout the region. In response to the cascading set of consequences reduced access to fresh water will trigger-including impaired food production, the loss of livelihood security, large-scale migration within and across borders, and increased economic and geopolitical tensions and instabilities-the report recommends a comprehensive strategy to avert a regional crisis.

The report highlights the fact that although Asia is home to more than half of the world's population, the region has less freshwater per capita than any continent other than Antarctica. Currently, one out of five people (700 million) in Asia does not have access to a clean water supply, and half of the region's population (1.8 billion people) lacks access to basic sanitation. Population growth, rising urbanization rates, rapid economic growth and climate change are expected to worsen the situation.

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