June 24, 2008 / 1:01 PM / 11 years ago

Singapore's PM says water security may spark conflicts

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during a Reuters Newsmaker event in Singapore May 6, 2008. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s prime minister said on Tuesday that water security may be a source of conflicts, while launching an institute in the city-state to research Asia’s water problems.

Lee Hsien Loong told water industry players at the start of a one-week water summit in Singapore that the provision of safe and cheap water was becoming harder because cities were growing bigger and global warming was having an effect.

The Asian Development Bank said in November that developing countries in Asia could face an unprecedented water crisis within a decade due to a mismanagement of resources.

“More and more cities and countries see access to water as a security concern and a potential trigger of conflict,” Lee said.

Lee blamed the water scarcity on a lack of sound water management practices and called for more research and innovation in the sector.

The Institute of Water Policy (IWP) was launched at the opening of the water summit, and will receive S$7.5 million ($5.5 million) in funding over the next five years from the government.

The institute will do research on water policy and water management issues and take on consultancy projects to advise governments and international organizations such as the World Bank.

Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Ben Tan

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