Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Asian NGO Comments on Draft Statement of Asia and Pacific, 3rd World Water Forum

Key issues

Arsenic issue. Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a serious problem for the drinking water supply in many regions of Asia, including Bangladesh and India.

Fluorinated water. Fluorinated water is also a big concern in many parts of Asia, and needs to be addressed here.

Actions

We agree that transparency, decentralization and participation by all users to ensure equitable access to water are a priority.

  • Change: Instead of placing the responsibility on the users we suggest democratic decentralized ownership and decision making on water systems.
  • Change: Instead of "develop cooperative relationships" we suggest that coming to concrete agreements on utilizing transboundary water resources is more action oriented.
  • Change: Lack of institutional development, capacity building and public awareness is not an action but an issue.
  • Add: Regeneration of ground water resources is a priority as ground water in asian countries is being depleted at alarming rates.
  • Add: Promote low cost and appropriate technologies that can meet basic needs of water, including water harvesting and watershed management approaches.

Recommendations and commitments

We agree with many of the recommendations listed:

  • Add: The first priority should be meeting the basic human needs for water for all people
  • Add: Governments should legally adopt water as a fundamental human right
  • Add: Groundwater contamination and overuse isses should be resolved. Separate land ownership from water rights. Groundwater exploitations should be regulated
  • Add: Implement pollution prevention measures in industrial facilities, and enforce the principle of "polluter pays." 
  • Change: Add to the "High water stress countries" bullet that agricultural irrigation should utilize technology to use water more efficiently (i.e., drip irrigation)
  • Change: We agree that educational and information infrastructure is needed to improve local skills, but what does "for industrial transformation" mean? This should be deleted.
  • We agree that creating low-polluting industry is a priority
  • Change: "Instead of providing water at very law casts, change for regulating water market" does not make sense, what does this mean?
  • Add: Sanitation in urban and rural areas is a priority. Actions in Asian countries have been successful when local communities are involved in design, planning, and implementing the technologies they can afford and they choose