Experts warn of severe water crisis

Recent water disasters in Japan, Australia and Brazil underscore the need for emergency readiness as the world faces massive urbanisation and more natural catastrophes, experts at a UN forum said Monday.

"The data that we have shows that these kind of events are likely to happen and we have to be prepared for them," said World Water Council Vice President Ben Braga, whose native Brazil suffered deadly floods last year.

A session on water disasters ahead of World Water Day 2011, marked annually on March 22, urged preventive action to tackle water catastrophes.

"If now in fact we are having more severe floods and droughts in the future due to climate variability it becomes even more important that this water management takes place immediately," Braga told AFP.

Deadly floods have hit countries like Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka this year with an unprecedented tsunami devastating Japan on March 11.

Japan Water Forum Director Inoue Tomoo said the country will re-evaluate the country's 10-metre (33-feet) anti-tsunami dykes, built after a giant wave hit in 1933, after this month's massive wall of water left more than 20,000 people dead or missing.

"Some areas were destroyed even though we constructed the dykes. We have to evaluate the effect of this infrastructure," he said, adding that Japan was still in the initial phase of rescue and recovery as well as housing displaced people.

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