01 Sep Sponsor Spotlight: The World Bank
South Asia is home to around a quarter of the global population but has less than 5 per cent of the world’s renewable water resources. Low per capita water availability and a high relative level of water use makes South Asia one of the most water scarce regions of the world. Additionally, water storage is low by global standards, making it difficult to manage the floods and droughts that characterize the region and that are expected to increase with climate change. Scarcity is now beginning to impact on economic development, as competition for water among different sectors increases, while the food demands of growing population continues to rise.
Water resources management in the region is still dominated by supply-side infrastructure thinking, but few new economically feasible and environmentally acceptable supply-side options remain. To cope with the growing challenges, it would be advisable for governments across the region to focus on “soft” solutions i.e. demand-side management through increased efficiency of water use and reuse; improved multi-sectoral water resources planning based on better data; modelling and stakeholder participation; stronger water legislation to empower multi-disciplinary water management institutions; and greater sharing of data and information to raise awareness and increase transparency in decision making.
The World Bank Special Session at the 2016 International Riversymposium will consider these challenges as they pertain to the future management of the major Himalayan River basins. A combination of invited keynote lectures, high-level panel discussions, speed talks and facilitated Q&A session will both provide up to date case studies, share government perspectives and provide forum for open discussion. Join us.