Water Governance

Water Governance

An Evaluation of Alternative Architectures

Edited by Asanga Gunawansa and Lovleen Bhullar

This insightful book explores urban water governance challenges in different parts of the world and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of publicly run, privatized, and public–private partnership managed water facilities.

Chapter 3: Good governance: the key to solving Asia’s water supply challenges

Alex Wong

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation, water


More than a decade has passed since Ismail Serageldin, former Vice-President of the World Bank, stated in an interview to Newsweek in 1995 that ‘Many of the wars this century were about oil, but those of the next century will be over water’. Still many parts of the developing world are no closer to solving this challenge of providing access to clean and reliable water supply to the growing population. Safe drinking water is one of the most basic human requirements and one of the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce by half the proportion of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water by 2015. The proportion of people living in countries chronically short of water, which stood at 8 percent (500 million) at the turn of the twenty-first century, is set to rise to 45 percent (4 billion) by 2050 (Grimond, 2010). Although about three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, availability of freshwater for human consumption is relatively very low. Shiklomanov (1999) estimated that the total volume of the earth’s water is 1.4 billion km3, of which freshwater accounts for only 35 million km3, the rest being salt water covering the world’s oceans.

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