Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2016

The Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) is a flagship water product of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asia- Pacific Water Forum (APWF) to highlight important water management issues. We led the development and review of two key dimension indicators on the topic of water security for the AWDO.



Project Location:

48 countries in the Asia Pacific region


Asian Development Bank

Project Category:

Consulting & Research

Key Areas of Work:

Water security

Research Partners:

Griffith University and The University of Queensland

Asian Water Development Outlook 2016

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was created in 1966 to be a financial institution that would foster economic growth and cooperation between its members. The ADB works with its member to across all sectors provide loads, technical assistance, grants, and investments to promote the sustainable development in the region. Now the ADB has 68 members, 49 of which are in the Asia Pacific region supporting approximately 40 of these countries.

Asian Water Development Outlook

The Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) is a flagship water product of the ADB and the Asia- Pacific Water Forum (APWF), to highlight important water management issues.

The first version of the AWDO was produced in 2007, where the ADB and APWF created the report to initiate a dialogue on water security in the Asia Pacific region. The next version in 2013 created the first comprehensive quantitative review of each of the countries in the region. AWDO 2013 detailed five key dimensions (KDs), based around households, economic, urban, environmental and resilience to disasters. Overall, water security was developed for each member by calculating a composite of the five KDs.

For the third version of AWDO in 2016, the ADB wanted to strengthen the five KDs by refining the KD indicators and methodologies to probe deeper and more robustly into national water security. To do this, the ADB tasked four leading global organisations to lead the KDs. The IWC was the only organisation to be given the lead in two KDs: KD3 urban water security and KD4 environmental water security.

Developing two KDs

The IWC led the development and review of two KDs for water security: KD3 for urban water security and KD4 for environmental water security. This was completed in parallel and in close communication with other KDs, through a collaborative approach led by the ADB with all KD research teams.

To develop the two KDs we:

  • identified potential improvements in previous AWDO reports and developed an approach to achieve this and to ensure outputs were in line with overall AWDO priorities and contrasting methodologies for regions with and without active river flow.
  • articulated a refined methodological approach to enable clear and measured bench marking with previous AWDO reports and comparisons with other water security indicators. These included collecting and collating relevant data-sets from international agencies and developing indicators of water security across the region at sub-basin scales.
  • prepared a final output for KD3 and KD4 that informed the AWDO 2016 report.


Our involvement in AWDO 2016 was profoundly impactful. By contributing to the AWDO, we contributed to better water security throughout the Asia Pacific region.

In urban water security, we were able to identify that there has been significant improvement in cities in East Asia, but that there is still room for improvement elsewhere in Asia. It was identified that significant leadership and investment would be needed if more water sensitive cities were to develop throughout Asia and the Pacific.

We also identified that because of their healthy rivers and limited alterations to natural flow, Pacific island nations had the strongest environmental water security. We showed that the impact that good governance was having in advanced economies, by highlighting the importance of country and basin level monitoring.

With increasing climate variability, business-as-usual water management will no longer suffice. Monitoring tools such as the AWDO, which strengthens a government’s ability to make good decisions, will become increasingly important. Between AWDO 2013 and 2016, nine countries lifted themselves out of the water insecure classification, which has real, on-ground impacts for their citizens.


Asia and Pacific remains the world’s most vulnerable region to water insecurity and cannot sustain its recent economic growth without addressing this issue,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono, who led the launch in Stockholm. “Meeting the region’s socioeconomic challenges and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water will require bridging the gap in provision of water services between rich and poor in urban areas, and between rural and urban areas. – ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK