The National Water Policy of Pakistan, approved on Tuesday 24th April 2018 by the Council of Common Interests (CCI), emphasizes on the evolvement of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) strategies by setting major national goals/targets for the water sector including water conservation, water storage, water treatment and availability of clean drinking water as stated in its preamble. It further broadens the policy framework and set of principles, which can be adopted by water sector organizations to formulate their respective Master Plans and projects for water conservation, development and management.
In this connection, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources arranged one day provincial dialogues at the provincial Head Quarter at Punjab and KP. Muhammad Ashraf (Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources) was the chief guest of events. The provincial dialogue was attended by the representatives of all relevant departments, consultants, donor agencies, universities and private sector; not only for the purpose of awareness but to give their useful input in formulation of implementation strategies in line with the provisions of NWP.
The major outcomes of the Punjab National Water Policy dialogue were;
- Water pricing should be done to avoid excessive extraction and unchecked consumption of ground water.
- Research and development should be strengthened to collect accurate statistics of water resource to establish a national databank as well as to reveal the gaps and efficient solutions.
- Water accounting should be done to avoid water losses.
- Planned engineering should be done for the development of water infrastructure.
- Latest technology should be adopted in agriculture sector to conserve water resources.
The major outcomes of the KP National Water Policy dialogue were;
- Agriculture department was asked to share the provincial strategic plan for high and low delta crops and productivity enhancement with the Federal Government to be further presented in front of Council’s Steering Committee meeting.
- The agriculture and irrigation departments should conduct economic studies to assess the economic returns of crops to balance the high and low delta crops.
- With any new proposed dam or reservoir a simultaneous plan of forestation on water shed area should be identified and included to avoid siltation and thereby increase the storage life of reservoir.
- Master plans at district level have already been made and the future projections are also made up till 2030 including the water demand as well as the financial projections.
- Provinces should adopt public private partnerships to generate funds for their projects.
- Academia should also focus on the awareness of water issues, for which MOU’s should be signed like the one already signed for collaboration with the environment departments of Peshawar and Abdul Wali Khan University with the help of UNICEF.
The provinces were asked to devise their strategic plans for the implementation of the National Water Policy with detailed timelines, to be shared with the Federal, Ministry of Water Resources.