Water remains one of the greatest global challenges. Significant improvements are needed in water management policies and practices to sustain lives and food production, support larger urban populations, and improve environmental sustainability in the Asia Pacific region and in the world.
While the pressures on the world’s water resources are great, progress was made in several areas over the past decade. Many multilateral and bilateral aid agencies have provided assistance for improving water and sanitation in developing countries. ADB, on its part, has launched in 2001 its water policy in response to water crisis which is closely linked to poverty and for potential regional disputes.
The water policy treats water as both a social and economic good and acknowledge the fundamental distinction between "water as a resource" and "water as a service". These principles inform efforts to improve suboptimal national policies and practices in the water sector. The policy supports ADB's strategy for poverty reduction by promoting participation of the poor in water management, supports ADB's strategy for public-private participation and aims to catalyze a national focus on water sector reform in its developing member countries (DMCs). It also has a regional cooperation dimension, which would be supported in response to requests from DMCs concerned.
This special evaluation study assesses the implementation of ADB's water policy and the performance of related operations, identify lessons and issues and make recommendations to inform future decision making on water sector operations in ADB's DMCs. Key evaluation questions centered on relevance, consistency, and adequacy of the water policy; ADB's responsiveness or how it implemented the policy; and results so far, including effectiveness in achieving outputs and outcomes, process and project efficiency in resource use, and likelihood of the sustainability of net benefits.