ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank(ADB)has said that water availability has become a serious constraint to sustainable food security in Asia in terms of its quantity and timing to meet the needs of farmers.
According to ADB, increasing competition over water and changing weather regimes influenced by climate change are causing frequent water shortages. Poor water quality in urban areas has become an issue for food safety, for example in the irrigation of vegetables.
The Bank said to start with, 80 per cent of Asiaís rivers were in poor health. The unprecedented scale of urbanization is leading to the rapid conversion of the regionís most fertile agricultural lands into highways, urban subdivisions and industrial estates. Population growth has caused an average 70 per cent reduction in per capita water endowments since 1950, and Asiaís economic growth has also spurred dietary changes, such as higher consumption of meat, which requires more water than traditional diets. ADB's Water Operational Plan seeks to tackle these issues with a more integrated approach building synergies between water uses in cities, agricultural areas, and environmental ecosystems, supported by demand management and higher efficiencies.
The Bank stated that prolonged period of low public investments in irrigation has resulted in poor service to farmers, which in turn was demotivating farmers from making their own investments in agricultural inputs.