Friday, 10th March 2017
Today, Hisaar Foundation launched the Recommendations of Pakistan’s National Water Policy Framework for the consideration of the government at Indus Hotel in Hyderabad. This is a culmination of two years of consultations which included discussion sessions with various water stakeholders across the spectrum as well as two international water conferences that focused on water cooperation and water security. The recommendations are part of the first report of the Think Tank on Rational Use of Water. The recommendations focus on five main areas for further action. These include improving water access for the poor and landless, financing the urban and rural water value chain, safeguarding the Indus Basin and its infrastructure, improving water institutions and their management and governance and finally building a base for science, technology and social aspects of water.
The policy framework was presented by Simi Kamal, Convener, Think Tank on Rational Use of Water. The panel was moderated by writer and journalist Mr. Zulfiqar Halepoto and the panelists included notable personalities such as scientific expert Dr. Rajab Memon, Mr. Mehmood Nawaz Shah, President of Sindh Abadgaar Board, Dr. Bakshal Lashari, Project Director, US-Pakistan Center for Advances Studies on Water and water activist Mr. Abrar Kazi. Mr. Muhammad Khan Nizamani, Managing Director Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) represented the government and its views. Mr. Zohair Ashir, Chairperson Hisaar Foundation commenced the proceedings and vote of thanks was given by Mr. Suleman Abro, Chief Executive, SAFWCO.
The goals of the recommendations for Pakistan’s national water policy framework call for extending irrigation system to arid districts of Pakistan. It also calls for creating new storages and enhancing existing storages at different levels. The policy framework calls for improvement in water efficiency by 10 percent. It also calls for increasing productivity in agriculture. The policy framework recommends preserving, repairing and maintaining the existing water infrastructure. It also calls for a reversal in abiyana to realize the true value of water. The policy framework calls for control in groundwater withdrawals as well as generation of additional indigenous hydropower. The recommendations also call for increased coordination between water, agriculture and industry for maximum benefits. Finally it calls for making investment in water infrastructure and hydropower a core part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Over 80 participants attended the launch event which included stakeholders of the water sector, academia, business community, media etc.