MANILA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Around 300 million people in the Asia-Pacific region have no improved access to water, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday.
"About 300 million people in the Asia and Pacific region do not have improved access to water and 1.7 billion lack access to basic sanitation," said ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the Asia Water 2018 forum in Manila.
According to ADB estimates, water demand in the Asia and Pacific region is poised to grow by more than half by 2050, leaving up to 3.4 billion people facing water insecurity.
Moreover, in 2016, the ADB said disaster-related losses in Asia totaled 87 billion U.S. dollars, of which about 25 percent was connected to flooding. And over the past 20 years, Asia has incurred half of the estimated global economic cost of water-related disasters.
"Innovations and new technologies provide the means to help ADB developing member countries advance their water management including river basin management, flood control, and water pollution; and service delivery such as water supply, sanitation, and irrigation," said the ADB president.
More than 800 gathered on Tuesday at the ADB headquarters in Manila for the opening of the Asia Water Forum 2018, focusing on "Information, Innovation, and Technology".
Participants included government officials, water and development professionals, and representatives from the private sector, academia, civil society, and media.
The ADB said this year's forum features over four days of a series of panels, leadership discussions, technical sessions, and workshops.
Since its founding in 1966, the Manila-based bank said it has spent a total of 45.88 billion U.S. dollars on water projects.
ADB's active water sector operations amount to nearly 14 billion U.S. dollars and this is growing -- another 14 billion U.S. dollars in water sector investments is planned between now and 2020, the ADB said.