More than 75 per cent of Asia-Pacific countries can expect to face an imminent water crisis unless immediate steps are taken to improve resource management, the new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Water Development Outlook 2013, released this week said.
Bindu Lohani, ADB's vice president for sustainable development said, while the Asia-Pacific region had become an economic powerhouse, it was alarming that no developing country in the region could be considered water-secure.
As per the bank's Asia Water Development Outlook 2013, 37 of 49 countries assessed were ''suffering from low levels of water security,'' including those that lacked measures for tackling the problem.
''Twelve countries are shown to have established infrastructure and management systems for water security, while no country in the region was found to have reached the highest model level of water security,'' the report noted.
South Asia and parts of Central and West Asia were faring the worst, with rivers under immense strain, while many Pacific Islands suffered from a lack of access to safe piped water and decent sanitation and were highly vulnerable to increasingly severe natural disasters.
''By contrast, East Asia, which has the highest frequency of hazards in the region, is relatively better off due to higher levels of investment in disaster defences, but urban water security remains poor in many cities and towns,'' the study said.
The report said, although the Philippines was surrounded by water and experienced at least 20 cyclones in a year, it was still far from achieving water security.
According to Wouter Lincklaen Arriens, ADB's water resources specialist, based on the National Water Security Index, the Philippines was placed at level two out of five, indicating inadequate legislation and policy securing water security.
The index contained in the Asian Water Development Outlook 2013 measured the water adequacy of 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific region.
Urban water security also gauges a country's public infrastructure and utilities, especially wastewater treatment to which Arriens noted much had to be done, especially in cities, which was an area of serious concern.
According to ADB, the fastest increase in water demand now came from industries and cities. ''Cities occupy 2 per cent of the world's land, (but) uses 75 per cent of its resources,'' the report noted.