Water Insecurity in Asian Cities

  • Bhaswati RayEmail author
  • Rajib Shaw
Part of the Disaster Risk Reduction book series (DRR)


Countries in Asia are likely to experience severe shortage of water by 2050 under the impact of increased economic activity, rapid growth of population, and climate variability. Already the world’s driest continent in terms of per capita water availability, severe droughts are also common over vast regions of Asia extending from southern Vietnam to central India. The impacts of climate change would lead an additional one billion people of Asia to water-stressed conditions. Asian cities would be the worst hit. Expanding urban population and changing lifestyle along with climate variability are making water resource management a challenge particularly in the water-stressed areas. While more than 90% of urban growth is projected to be concentrated in less developed countries, 60% of that increase will be in Asia. Among the 27 Asian cities with population exceeding one million, the Indian cities of Chennai and Delhi are identified as the worst affected in terms of per day availability of water. Mumbai holds the second position while Kolkata is in the fourth. Most of the Asian cities are, however, fast adopting new improved approaches to water management. The state of Karnataka in India has successfully experimented with urban catchment models for small and medium towns and has initiated programs to restore and rejuvenate small lakes. Rainwater harvesting is promoted in Bangalore city for managing water crisis and heavy rains. Green infrastructure, permeable pavements, and subsurface detection systems are being considered under sponge city programme. In Thailand, Bangkok’s stormwater management strategy incorporates the combined collection and treatment of stormwater in lakes and storage basins. This chapter intends to focus on the problems of water insecurity in the cities of Asia and to highlight some of the best practices adopted in urban water governance for a water-secure future.


Water insecurity Urbanization Water management Best practices Urban governance 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sivanath Sastri CollegeUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Graduate School of Media and GovernanceKeio UniversityFujisawaJapan

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