The Asian population is expected to increase from 3103 million in 1990 to 5811 million in 2050 and to 6817 million in 2150. Such rises will invariably augment demands for all water uses. Water availability is unlikely to increase to accommodate all the expected demand growth. This will escalate the conflict between various water uses. Irrigation, which is now the most significant user of water, is likely to be the main loser. Its percentage share of total water used will decline steadily in the future. This will mean that the irrigation sector will have to do more with less water by increasing its efficiency significantly. The Asian countries will also have to take a balanced approach between irrigation development and environmental protection.
By Asit K. Biswas, 1994. Article published in International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 10, Issue 4, pages 445-455. DOI: 10.1080/07900629408722646