IN A NEW POSITION PAPER RELEASED on 17 March 2003, the World Bank has suggested that new investment is needed for water infrastructure projects, including hydro power and irrigation projects.

The Bank has called for developed and developing countries alike to work together to increase direly needed investments in the water sector to help promote growth and poverty reduction. But such investments should go hand-in-hand with appropriate reforms, said the Bank.

During a press conference at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Ian Johnson, vice president for sustainable development at the World Bank, suggested that while it is often difficult to introduce reform, it is necessary to create the right incentives to move the water sector forward.

This includes increasing transparency and involvement of all interested parties, introducing pricing of water and water services, and defining water rights and obligations.

The report, Water – A Priority for Responsible Growth and Poverty Reduction: An Agenda for Investment and Policy Change, established that investments in water in developing countries will need to double from the current level of about $75B per year to $180B per year.