Water & Wastewater Asia Mar/Apr 2018

WATER & WASTEWATER ASIA March / April 2018 30 / INSIGHT I n the last piece, Tim Hill pointed to Southeast Asia’s relationship with water, the region’s unique relationship with it as both boon and bane, and how urbanisation, deforestation, population growth have come together to create a negative impact in both urban and rural areas, especially with climate change translating into floods increasing in intensity and frequency. More omi nous l y, coup l ed with limited disaster relief and insufficient defence measures, reports from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have shown that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region is particularly vulnerable if no action is taken to address climate change, and may even lose more than US$2 trillion in combined assets by the 2070s. Impact on rural and urban areas To assess the likelihood in a rise of temperatures and climate change, Eco-Business Research undertook a survey of regional opinion leaders in June 2017. The results show a high level of awareness of the potential catastrophic effects of climate change on the region, as well as a high level of concern about whether governments have the full resources to tackle the problems. Some of the key points include: • 84 per cent of respondents agreed that there had been “significant changes to the weather and climate in recent years” • 80 per cent of respondents agreed that average temperatures had become hotter • 51 per cent of respondents indicated that storms or typhoons had become more severe • 43 per cent agreed that rainfall had become higher • 69 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement “we will encounter significantly more extreme weather or climate conditions in the next decade” This is a particular cause for concern given the high levels of flooding brought about through current weather patterns and the struggle that most Southeast Asian nations have in dealing with them. Mos t r e sponden t s i n a l l countries also indicated concerns as to whether their country was adequately prepared to deal with the effects of climate change in terms of expertise, budget allocation, and ASEAN-level collaboration. By Tim Hill , Research Director, Eco-Business Research As awe-inspiring as it is intense and destructive, Southeast Asia’s monsoon rains have defined the region, leaving its unique, elemental fingerprint. With three times as much water as there is land, water is integral to the region’s culture as well as way of life – and the management of it, even more so. In this second part of a series of opinion pieces by Tim Hill, research director of Eco-Business Research, Water & Wastewater Asia explores Southeast Asia’s delicate relationship with water.