Sustainable Groundwater Management in Asian Cities: A final report of Research on Sustainable Water Management Policy

Asian cities have faced problems caused by rapid urbanization for decades. While urbanization can bring economic development to the cities, it also produces decrease of natural resources or environmental deterioration. From the perspective of fresh water related issues, Asian cities are suffering from scarcity of water resources and water degradation.

Under these circumstances, groundwater has played an important role in the Asian cities. Groundwater has been used for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes as a reliable resource in terms of quantity and quality. However, groundwater is also now under severe stress caused by excessive abstraction and contamination in the course of socioeconomic development in the city. Problems such as water table depletion, land subsidence, seawater intrusion, and water degradation are emerging due to over-exploitation and contamination of water. Many efforts have already been made in order to address these groundwater related issues. Although some results were realized, their scope was limited and effects lasted for short time.

A research project, the Freshwater Resources Management Project at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), led by Professor Ohgaki launched a policy research, “Sustainable Water Resource Management Policy (SWMP)” in view of this situation in 2004, with the cooperation of research partners in the following case study cities, namely Tianjin (China), Bandung (Indonesia), Colombo and Kandy (Sri Lanka), Bangkok (Thailand), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). The objective of this research is to formulate policy recommendations for sustainable groundwater management in Asian cities affecting both broad amplitude and persisting time period.

This report entitled “Sustainable Groundwater Management in Asian Cities” is the final research report summarizing results of the past three years. It consists of mainly three chapters, Chapter 1 “Comparative Study of Groundwater Management”, Chapter 2 “Changes in Groundwater Management to Enhance Sustainability of Water Resources in Asian Cities”, and Chapter 3 “Summary of Case Studies”. Chapter 1 presents a summary of comparative analysis of the status of groundwater resources, existing policy measures and future challenges of six case study cities in addition to Tokyo and Osaka as reference cases. Chapter 2 explains in detail policy recommendation for sustainable groundwater management in Asian cities which was the main theme of the three-year research. Chapter 3 introduces the compilation of the summary reports from each SWMP case study city. Each summary report includes background information, status of water resources, issues on groundwater management, issues on alternative water resources for groundwater and proposed policy options in each case study city.


Interim Report: Sustainable Groundwater Management in Asian Cities: A Summary Report of Research on Sustainable Water Management in Asia (March 2006)