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 and upon the success stories of two previously arranged provincial dialogues of Lahore and Peshawar, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources arranged third one day provincial dialogues at the provincial Head Quarter, Karachi. Muhammad Ashraf (Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources) was the chief guest of event. 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 Sindh National Water Policy dialogue were;
- The efforts of different organizations working on National Water Policy in Sindh should be coordinated at the provincial level to represent a joint effort for policy recommendations.
- There needs to be a benchmark for reporting the losses between the rivers so that the losses beyond the benchmarks should be taken care of for accurate assessment of river flows.
- Water measurement on river flows should be done with the latest technologies to remove the trust deficit among the provinces as well as within the provinces.
- Water efficiency using drip and sprinkler irrigation should be promoted along with educating the people on water conservation.
- The 10 MAF new water storage is a strategic priority but and targets of the NWP should also include the breakdown of this 10 MAF for proposed dam structures to avoid confusion regarding disputed sites.
- A data information platform with statistics of water resources in Sindh should be established to help in the decision-making processes.
- A provincial desk should be made within the Ministry of Water Resources to handle the water issues of each of the province.
- The environmental issues regarding fisheries and the livelihoods of the people of the Delta downstream Kotri should also be taken into consideration.
- Proper attention and priority shall be given to the project of storage downstream Kotri Barrage.
The provinces are 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.