ASEAN COOPERATION ON WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

  1. ASEAN region is generally sufficient. However some AMS do experience seasonal scarcity, and freshwater resources are under increasing pressures due to rapidly rising demand from industrial activities, agricultural use, and a growing population. The variability of conditions in AMS also affects how water resource issues and their management are addressed. Nonetheless, there are some common issues cutting across AMS, such as supply, demand, water conservation, and water quality management.
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  2. To ensure equitable access and sufficient water quantity of acceptable quality, the ASCC Blueprint promotes regional cooperation on integrated water resources management. Recognising the importance of freshwater resources, ASEAN formed the AWGWRM in 2002. Following the endorsement of the ASEAN Long Term Strategic Plan for Water Resources Management in 2003 by the ASEAN Environment Ministers, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Water Resources Management (2005) which aims to promote the sustainability of water resources to ensure equitable accessibility and sufficient water quantity of acceptable quality.
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  3. The ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Water Resources Management (ASPA-WRM) contains actions on four key issues, i.e.: (i) supply; demand and allocation; (ii) water quality and sanitation; (iii) climate change and extreme events; and (iv) governance and capacity building. The four key issues have been translated into ten project concepts, namely:a
    Project Concept 1: Demand Management Learning Forums<
    Project Concept 2: ASEAN IWRM Country Strategy Guidelines
    Project Concept 3: River Classification Systems
    Project Concept 4: ASEAN Water Data Management and Reporting System Design
    Project Concept 5: Risks and Impacts from Extreme Events in ASEAN Member Countries
    Project Concept 6: Knowledge Sharing and Exchange
    Project Concept 7: Exchanging Information and Creating Awareness in a Structured Basis between Peak Bodies
    Project Concept 8: Integrated Land Use Planning
    Project Concept 9: Increasing Long Term Awareness, Knowledge and Community Participation in Integrated Water Resources Management
    Project Concept 10: Education on Sanitation and Pollution Management

    To date, five project proposals have been endorsed/ implemented, namely:

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  4. Malaysia organised the Workshop on the Existing Guidelines, Action Plans and Strategies related to IWRM from 16 – 18 March 2009 in Kuala Lumpur. The Workshop was conducted to prepare for the development of the ASEAN IWRM Country Strategy Guidelines. The workshop agreed on 6 key water related issues in the region, i.e.: (1) water supply; (2) irrigation; (3) stormwater management; (4) floods management; (5) water pollution management; and (6) sanitation management for the development of regional guidelines.
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  5. AMS also face significant challenges in managing urban water demand given rising populations, urbanisation and water scarcity. Depending on the countries’ circumstances, AMS have responded to these challenges using tariff solutions, management solutions, technical/engineering solutions, institutional/regulatory solutions and leadership, public education and community involvement. The ASEAN Workshop on Urban Water Demand Management Learning Forum (22 – 25 June 2009) organised by Singapore agreed that the above challenges could be dealt with short- and long-term solutions. While the short-term solutions include reducing commercial losses, improving the accuracy of water meters and reducing water pressure, the long term solutions could include, among others, pipe replacement programmes, 100 percent metering and introducing institutional reforms such as more effective regulation, private sector participation and financial restructuring of water utilities. The Workshop participants also agreed that capacity building programmes such as formal training, staff exchange, advisory services, twinning arrangement and networking with other similar initiatives and leadership development will be needed to implement these solutions.
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    ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2009-2015Section D.9: Promoting the Sustainability of Freshwater ResourcesStrategic Objective: Promote sustainability of water resources to ensure equitable accessibility and sufficient water quantity of acceptable quality to meet the needs of
    the people of ASEAN.Actions:

    1. Continue implementation of the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Water Resources Management;
    2. Endeavour to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2010;
    3. Manage water resources efficiently and effectively in order to provide adequate and affordable water services by 2015;
    4. Promote the implementation of integrated river basin management by 2015;
    5. Promote public awareness and partnership to enhance integrated water resources management;
    6. Promote regional cooperation on water conservation measures and programmes as well as scientific and technological innovations in water quality improvement and supply.