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ADB chief urges investments in water infrastructure

Hopping for rain: Indian frog 'marriage' to bring on monsoon
Two frogs have been "married" in a ceremony in the western Indian state of Maharashtra to usher in the delayed monsoon rains, a report said Wednesday. Residents in a suburb of Nagpur, 860 kilometres (530 miles) east of the state capital Mumbai, looked on as the groom, Raja, and bride, Rani, were joined in union in a solemn ritual at the weekend, the Times of India said. Tradition dictates that if frogs are married off with full Vedic or Hindu rituals, the rain god is pleased and the heavens will open within days. Similar ceremonies have been held across the country. Indians have been watching the skies anxiously after the monsoon failed to appear two weeks ago, prompting concerns about the impact on agriculture and water supplies as lakes run dry after a long, hot summer.
by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) June 23, 2009
Investments in water infrastructure must be sustained if Asia is to succeed in reducing poverty and maintaining strong economic growth, the region's top development banker said Tuesday.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda said the global economic slump should not be a reason to cut back on investment in projects aimed at increasing water supply and managing waste water.

Economic growth, population expansion and the influx of people into cities have sharply raised the region's water requirements while increasing pollution risks, he told an international water conference in Singapore.

"This is actually the time to be sustaining and increasing financing to fuel infrastructure investment to be the engine of growth again," Kuroda said, according to an ADB statement.

"Stagnant investments in this sector may compromise our energy and food security, as well our economies and environment, creating a significant new threat to both poverty reduction and economic growth."

He said the crisis could present investment opportunities and that the business sector can step in to make up investment shortages in cash-strapped countries.

The Asia Pacific region accounts for more than half of the world's population.

In 2004, 635 million people in the region did not have access to safe drinking water, while 1.86 billion people currently lack access to adequate sanitation, the Manila-based ADB said.

About 10,000 delegates, including policy-makers, water technology experts, scientists and engineers are attending the Singapore conference.

Organisers said the meeting is a platform to help find solutions to the world's water needs.

Later on Tuesday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was due to open a high-tech, 3.65 billion Singapore dollar (2.52 billion US) facility that will treat used water from homes and industries and ensure the city state's long-term water needs.

The Changi Water Reclamation Plant is capable of treating 800,000 cubic metres (176 million gallons) of used water -- enough to fill 320 Olympic size swimming pools -- daily.

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Tropical Singapore an oasis for water research
Singapore (AFP) June 21, 2009
Khoo Teng Chye, the amiable chief of Singapore's water agency, says he has been sleeping soundly since taking office five years ago. Unlike his predecessors at the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Khoo does not have to fret about whether the wealthy but resource-starved island-state will have enough water for its long-term survival and development. Thanks to technology, Singapore now has ... read more

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