The water experts are these days meeting at an UN-sponsored conference, the World Water Week 2009, an international gathering of policy makers and experts in Stockholm. A study was released in connection with the meeting suggesting that Asian countries will need to import more than a quarter of their rice and other staples to feed their rapidly growing populations.
Improving the water management is they way to go, experts mean according to BBC News:
“Water and sanitation must be given a higher priority in the governments, in the nations, in the municipalities, in the countries where the problems are,” said Jan Eliasson, Chair of WaterAid Sweden and former President of the United Nations General Assembly, and added: “We need to move from fact finding and early warning to fact facing and early action.”
South East Asia must spend billions
“Asia’s food and feed demand is expected to double by 2050,” said the International Water Management Institute director general Colin Chartres.
“Relying on trade to meet a large part of this demand will impose a huge and politically untenable burden on the economies of many developing countries.
“The best bet for Asia lies in revitalising its vast irrigation systems, which account for 70% of the world’s total irrigated land,” he said.
They say countries in South East Asia must spend billions of dollars to improve antiquated crop irrigation to cope with rapid population increases. That estimate does not yet take into account the possible impact of global warming on water supplies, they said.
Yesterday, a panel discussion about the subject was on the programme in Stockholm, including regional experts from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos among others.