Rationalisation of Industrial Sector Water Use is the Key to Sound Groundwater Management

Number 04

Many Asian cities have greatly relied on groundwater in the course of their development. Large populations and concentrations of industrial activity in urban areas intensified the stress on groundwater. Such stress has resulted in environmental problems, such as the drawdown of water tables, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion, which interfered with the sound development of the cities.

Considering that the industrial sector heavily consumes groundwater, an urgent review of the groundwater management for industrial use should be made. Current measures in some Asian countries mostly rely on the regulations of groundwater abstraction and the provision of alternative water sources to meet the existing water demand. However, these measures often place additional stress on other water resources and may increase financial problems and the environmental risk in the infrastructure development of new water sources.

In the context of sound groundwater management, we believe that government resources should be allocated to promote the rationalisation of water use in the industrial sector and recommend that:
- Economic instruments, such as tax reductions to introduce water-saving practices, groundwater usage charges and wastewater treatment charges, should be introduced to motivate water saving, reuse and recycling; and
- The enforcement of water pollution control should be strengthened to control water demand.