Groundwater Governance Regional Diagnosis: Asia and the Pacific region

Research Report
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Groundwater Governance - A Global Framework for Action (2011-2014) is a joint project supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), jointly with UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), the International Association of Hydrologists (IAH) and the World Bank. The project is designed to raise awareness of the importance of groundwater resources for many regions of the world, and identify and promote best practices in groundwater governance as a way to achieve the sustainable management of groundwater resources. The first phase of the project consists of a review of the global situation of groundwater governance and aims to develop of a Global Groundwater Diagnostic that integrates regional and country experiences with prospects for the future.

The Asia-Pacific region is very diverse and so is the national policy priority. However, it must be commonly understood that the development of the region cannot be attained without conserving natural capitals that all our activities rely on. Groundwater, one of the key elements of natural capitals should be developed and utilised without losing its sustainability. However, increasing water demands have been giving more pressure on groundwater resources and creating problems such as groundwater depletion, land subsidence, and contamination; and it is an urgent task to reverse the negative trend for sustainable future of the region. The regional consultation process identified that there is a high aspiration among experts and policy makers for the improvement of groundwater governance as a basis to change the current looming trend of the resource use. Current groundwater governance and the lessons in the region shows us that groundwater governance in progress in the region by adapting changes such in hydrogeological conditions, water demand, social and economic needs. There are great advancements of groundwater governance such in China and Thailand. However, in general, groundwater governance of the region is still very weak to achieve the objective and more financial and human resources are in need to improve it.