June 11 - A study commissioned by HSBC shows that poor management of water resources could stifle economic growth in some of the world's most rapidly developing economies. Hayley Platt reports
Tribal women from India's eastern state of Orissa are used to walking long distances to collect water. They have no choice. There's no running water in their village and they depend on wells like this one for their needs. SOUNDBITE: Goladhan Majhi, A Tribal saying (Oriya): "Every day, we spend two to three hours fetching drinking water. It's so scarce that we have nothing left to bathe with or cook. Life has become very difficult." The number of families in Orissa without access to clean water has risen from 30 to 35 percent over the past decade. And the problem isn't restricted to India. Nine of the world's biggest river basins are in emerging markets including China and North Africa. A new report commissioned by banking group HSBC shows that economic growth in these areas could be seriously stifled unless water resources are better managed. HSBC wants to protect some its most important markets. It's investing $100 million in charities such as the World Wildlife Fund, WaterAid and Earthwatch to help clean up some of the world's most important river basins. Helen Wong is the President and CEO of HSBC China. SOUNDBITE: Helen Wong, President and CEO, HSBC China. "The Yangtze river basin has a population of 1/3 of the country that is about 470 million and indeed people use water every single day and for business as well. This area produces about 70 percent of the rise for the country and also 1/3 of the fish and meat so indeed clean water, healthy water is linked to a healthy economy." The bank estimates that improved sanitation would boost GDP in Brazil, India and China by more than $113 billion a year. Globally the figure rises $220 billion - money the world's economy could certainly do with at the moment. Hayley Platt Reuters.