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New ADB Publication: “Water Rights and Water Allocation: Issues and Challenges for Asia”

Dennis Von Custodio,
NARBO Secretariat, and IWRM Specialist and RETA 6470 Coordinator (Consultant),
Asian Development Bank


The Asian Development Bank released “Water Rights and Water Allocation: Issues and Challenges for Asia” in September 2009–the 17th in its Water for All publication series.

In 2005, the Network of Asian River Basin Organizations initiated a series of thematic workshops on water rights and water allocation. Four workshops were held in Hanoi in December 2005; in Manila and Bangkok in June and November 2006, respectively; and in Saitama in January 2007. The workshops explored the challenges associated with water allocation and water rights as experienced by the participating countries.

In May 2007, NARBO and ADB held a fifth workshop in Manila to synthesize the findings from the earlier workshops. Participants viewed that introducing a country-wide licensing system for water use could take many years to complete, and developing practical guidelines and solutions for the transition phase is urgent.

The publication, which builds on the foundation of the five workshops, attempts to

  • (ⅰ) provide practical clarity on the concepts and terminology surrounding water rights and water allocation,
  • (ⅱ) summarize key findings from the cross-country comparisons on water rights and water allocation;
  • (ⅲ) stimulate in–depth discussion on water rights and identify ways to overcome the challenges of their implementation, and
  • (ⅳ) provide inputs for future NARBO and ADB activities to assist governments in the region in improving water rights and water allocation in the context of integrated water resources management.

The publication can be a resource for staff working in water agencies and river basin organizations that have already joined NARBO as members, as well as for other interested parties–both in government and civil society–who are considering adopting a water rights system.

Visit ADB website for detailed information and free download of the publication.