Freshwater: Asia and the Pacific

The Asia and the Pacific Region accounts for about 36 per cent of global run-off. Even so, water scarcity and pollution are key issues and the region has the lowest per capita availability of freshwater: renewable water resources amounted to about 3 690 m3 per capita/year in mid-1999 for the 30 largest countries in the region for which records are available (UNDP, UNEP, World Bank and WRI 2000 and United Nations Population Division 2001). In absolute terms, China, India and Indonesia have the largest water resources, more than one-half of the region's total. Several countries, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea, already suffer from water scarcity or water stress. More will do so as populations and consumption increase. Agriculture is the biggest consumer (86 per cent), with smaller amounts going to industry (8 per cent) and domestic use (6 per cent) (compiled from UNDP, UNEP, World Bank and WRI 2000).