Fresh water is a renewable but finite resource. The scale of its development and use therefore must not exceed certain limits if ecological balance is to be maintained. These limits are generally determined by the rates of recovery, that is, both the regenerative rate of the hydrological cycle as well as the assimilative capacities of receiving water bodies.
In almost all countries in Asia and the Pacific there have been growing environmental problems due to unsustainable use and development of water resources. Pollution of fresh water has also become a major environmental problem. Asian rivers are badly polluted and renewable freshwater resources are dwindling as a result. Besides, overuse of groundwater is adversely affecting the availability of safe drinking water in Pacific countries.
This publication reviews the situation of water resources development and use in the region based on the situation in individual countries as presented and discussed by country experts at the above two meetings. It should be found useful for both decision makers and professionals in the field of water development and management in drawing on the experience of some countries which are leaders in certain aspects of water development and management.