Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2018

Water & Wastewater Asia • November / December 2018 18 | GRUNDFOS SPECIAL Legislation, Literacy & Liaison: The government’s role in water crisis By Kim Jensen, Group Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region he water crisis is no longer looming – it is here. Climate change has driven whole megacities into periods of water scarcity, resulting in multiyear droughts and subsequently large-scale crop failures. All this amidst increased weather-related disasters such as floods and storms has taken a toll on our water systems, as they were largely built based on the more stable climate conditions of the past. This crisis is even more critical in Asia. Although Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population, it has less freshwater (around 3,920 cubic metres per person per year) than any continent other than Antarctica 1 . This means that about one billion people in the region could experience water shortages by 2050 2 . The problem stems fromgrowing populations and industrialisation leading to increased pressures on accessible water resources. This is worsened by water pollution and ageing infrastructure, as well as climate change driving increasingly erratic weather events such as droughts globally. The ramifications of such a complex challenge go beyond the needs of the common man – from economic growth to social cohesion, the water crisis is detrimental to the Kim Jensen, Group Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region development of entire nations. The economic risks posed by the water crisis are severe – water insecurity has been dragging down the global economy by hundreds of billions of dollars annually 3 . Increased water stress has a dangerous ripple effect, impacting everything from food production to livelihood security. All this leads to increased economic and geopolitical tensions and instabilities. The emerging picture underscores an urgent need for solutions with high-level political will, calling for governments to not only develop national responses and policies, but also work closely with businesses and citizens to address this pertinent issue. Governmental responsibilities can vary from country to country, but there are three key approaches – responsible governance of resources, cultural shift towards conservation, and collaboration across sectors and borders. REGULATION AND EDUCATION Be it climate change or ageing infrastructure, industrial pollution or greenhouse emissions, governments play a huge role in effectively addressing these issues by putting in place efficient institutional frameworks and policies. One notable case-study for the reversal of water crisis in Asia is the Cambodian city of