As published May 2016:
1.2.4 Water use is increasing and intensity remains
high Asia and the Pacific accounts for more than 50 per cent of
the world’s water use, and it is increasing. Water intensity in
the region’s developing countries has decreased sharply but
is still very high and, for the region as a whole, it is more than
double the world average.
Water use in the region grew from around 1.5 cubic kilometers in 1970 to 2.1
cubic kilometers in 2015. Total water withdrawals for the region as a whole
grew very slowly, at an annual rate of 0.6 per cent per year
for 1970 –2010 (UNEP 2015).
The per person use of water fell in all sub-regions, especially
between 1970 and 1990, as a result of improved agricultural practices and
industrialization. The Pacific and Northeast Asia have the lowest per person
water use in the region and Australia and New Zealand have the highest.
Water intensity has decreased rapidly in developing
countries in the region, with a sharp decrease of an average
of 4.4 per cent per annum in Southeast Asia, 3.4 per cent
in Northeast Asia and 3.3 per cent in South Asia compared
to the rest of the world average of 2.4 per cent per year.
Impressive improvements in water efficiency have reduced
water use per US dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) by
90 per cent in developing countries in the region. However,
water intensity in Asia and the Pacific region was almost double the world
average in 2015.
This high water intensity has been recorded mainly in South
and Southeast Asian sub-regions, where economies are
dominated by agriculture, which requires higher volumes of water.
Copy of the Full Report is available here