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									       Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges
                      Water Policy Dialogue, 25 June 2009
                             Institute of Water Policy
                     Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
                        National University of Singapore

by Rita Padawangi, Research Fellow, Institute of Water Policy

The afternoon session of the Water Policy Dialogue on 25 June 2009 started at 2.00 pm
with the roundtable “Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges”.
Attended by more than sixty participants in the audience – water sector practitioners,
academe, and students – the three presentations in this roundtable reviewed various
water sector projects across Asia and provided more detailed view on Sri Lanka’s
experience on water resource management and the recent Kunming water development
project in the People’s Republic of China. The roundtable was chaired by Mr. Sangay
Penjor, Principal Evaluation Specialist of the Asian Development Bank, who had had
extensive experience in water supply, sanitation and urban projects, mainly in the
People's Republic of China and Mongolia.

The Institute of Water Policy (IWP) presented “Water Management: Good Practices and
Lessons Learned” in the roundtable. The research comprehensively analysed key
lessons learned and practices in water and wastewater sector operations in the ADB and
assessed the comparison between ADB projects and other Multilateral Development
Banks (MDBs). The presentation also highlighted in-depth case studies of three major
best practices and approach examples in water and wastewater sectors: Phnom Penh
Water Supply and Drainage in Cambodia, the Songhua River Basin in the People’s
Republic of China, and the Punjab Community Water Supply and Sanitation in Pakistan.
Water Policy Dialogue: Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges

The findings of the research would help the operations department at ADB to improve
project quality and were initial preparatory works for the Special Evaluation Study (SES)
on the implementation of the ADB’s Water Policy.

Overall Performance Rating (left) and Sustainability Performance Rating (right) of Completed Asian
 Development Bank Projects in Water Resource, Water Supply, and Wastewater Sectors, 1995-2008

Delivered by Dr. Wu Xun, Assistant Professor at the LKYSPP, and Dr. Rita Padawangi,
Research Fellow at the IWP-LKYSPP, the presentation concluded that successful
projects are characterised by strong stakeholder commitment, good leadership, and
capable executing agencies. Many water development projects look promising at the
design stage, but implementation remains challenging. However, current efforts to build
leadership and capabilities are not yet adequate to meet the challenges in the
developing countries. Effective capacity building programs are necessary to support
policy implementation.

While the IWP-LKYSPP presentation focused on the overall pattern, Tatiana Gallego-
Lizon and Maria Theresa Villareal from the Asian Development Bank presented case
studies on water sector projects in Asia. Ms. Gallego-Lizon zeroed in on water security in
South Asia, particularly in Sri Lanka. She highlighted that about 20% of the South Asian
population lacks access to water services and that water resources in South Asia are
unevenly distributed. Northern Sri Lanka is the country’s dry zone that is characterised
by low precipitation and scarce water resources. The first case study, the Jaffna Water
Supply and Sanitation Project, featured flat elevation, no perennial rivers, and high
dependency on groundwater resources. Jaffna needed a regional water strategy and
regional groundwater modeling to avoid undesirable environmental impact due to over
extraction of groundwater. Groundwater mapping, defining groundwater parameters, and

Water Policy Dialogue: Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges

defining the geometry of the freshwater lens supported the development of predictive
tools: cross-sectional numerical models, steady state simulations, and developing Jaffna
Regional Numerical Model to compute water balance for Jaffna Peninsula. These tools
enabled Jaffna’s District Committee to plan and manage groundwater resources to
ensure long-term drinking water supply.

                                        Top Surface (m AMSL)







    Topography (left) and Groundwater Mapping (right) of Jaffna, Sri Lanka (source: ADB, 2009)

Another case study from Sri Lanka was the collaborative planning and coordination and
improved regulation and monitoring in the Sri Lanka Dry Zone Water Supply and
Sanitation    Project.    This   project         included      participatory   groundwater   resource
management, river basin management, and applying subsidiarity principles. It is a three-
year program to strengthen water resource management, coordination and planning
abilities in Puttalam, Vavuniya and Mannar districts.
The case studies show two major components in water security initiatives in South Asia:
    1. Strategic planning and management of water resources: sustainability,
        collaboration and coordination, regulation and monitoring.
    2. Optimising use in urban water management: catchment rehabilitation and
        management, integration of water supply and wastewater system designs,
        demand management and water conservation, and water recycling.

Ms. Gallego-Lizon closed her presentation by showing a comparison case of the
Maldives, where water resources were also scarce. In the Maldives, the strategic
planning and management of water resources had been implemented, as well as the
optimisation of water management. Water catchment was improved by rainwater
harvesting and aquifer recharge, and freshwater was protected through wastewater
treatment. The presentation showed that a sustainable water management is necessary
and is possible to overcome water scarcity.

Water Policy Dialogue: Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges

The third presentation was “Kunming Water Sector Governance” by Ms. Maria Theresa
Villareal, Senior Urban Development Specialist of the Asian Development Bank. Similar
to the challenges in Northern Sri Lanka, Kunming was also dependent on groundwater.
In the case of Kunming, there were four major approaches: 1) improving water resources
protection and management, 2) strengthening institutions and linkages in water and
wastewater sector, 3) promoting water conservation, and 4) reducing pollution levels in
lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Kunming promoted water conservation mainly through water
tariffs, in which block tariffs and lifeline block for the poor were established, and the tariff
also included fees on pollutants. Kunming also set water recycling rate at 20%.

                        Water Supply Area in Kunming (source: ADB, 2009)

The highlight of Ms. Villareal’s presentation was the public-private partnership in
Kunming Water Sector Governance. Although the ownership of the corporation fully
belongs to Kunming Municipal Government (KMG), the company operated as a joint
venture on a 30 year contract with the government, starting in May 2006. The company’s
responsibilities are 1) to improve technical and operational efficiency, including reducing
non-revenue water (NRW) and metering, and 2) to improve managerial capacity in
financial management, business planning, and management information system
development. KMG aimed to have Kunming as National Water Conservation City by
2020, which became the motivation to improve overall water management administration.

The first afternoon roundtable shows that there are numerous best practices in water
resource, water supply, and wastewater sectors throughout Asia. These best practices,
however, emerged not because the places were in favorable conditions or have

Water Policy Dialogue: Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges

abundant water. Jaffna and Kunming were dependent on groundwater resources;
Phnom Penh was a war-torn city, Punjab-Pakistan was a brackish area, and the
Songhua River Basin faced pollution problems. Applicable strategies and good water
management resulted in considerably sustainable water services in each case, in spite
of continuing challenges. Progress in various countries in Asia is encouraging, but more
needs to be done, especially in capacity building and increasing stakeholder

                  Asian Water Review: Patterns, Achievements, and Challenges
                                   Water Policy Dialogue, 25 June 2009
       Chair: Mr. Sangay Penjor, Principal Evaluation Specialist, Asian Development Bank

           “Promoting Water Security in South Asia – ADB’s Practical Experience”
  Ms. Tatiana Gallego-Lizon, Urban Development Specialist, South Asia Regional Department,
                                           Asian Development Bank

                   “Water Management: Good Practices and Lessons Learned”
Dr. Wu Xun and Dr. Rita Padawangi, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University
                                                   of Singapore

                  “Kunming Water Sector Governance: Case Study of Kunming”
 Ms. Maria Theresa J. Villareal, Senior Urban Development Specialist, Asian Development Bank

  The Institute of Water Policy wishes to thank the Asian Development Bank (ADB), especially Mr. Sangay Penjor, Ms.
   Tatiana Gallego-Lizon, and Ms. Maria Theresa J. Villareal for supporting the Water Policy Dialogue, 25 June 2009.


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