Published Date: Oct 10, 2015
Need stressed to increase water storage capacity
LAHORE: Experts called for enhancing water storage capacity of the country to ensure water security, and termed dams as banks for water, where the necessity is stored when available in abundance.
Speakers were sharing their thoughts at a consultative session of water-sector stake holders organised by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) the other day in Islamabad on the directives of the prime minister of Pakistan.
This was the second consultative session, following one in Lahore, for detailed deliberations about broad parameters of water security in Pakistan.
The session, presided by Wapda Chairman Zafar Mahmood, was attended by Water and Power Ministry Additional Secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy, representatives of Pakistan Army, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, governments of Khyber Pakthunkhawa (KP), Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), renowned institutions namely National Defence University (NDU), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, and University of Agriculture Peshawar. In addition to eminent water-sector experts, office bearers of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) namely Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) and Hissar Foundation were also present in the consultative session.
Wapda Chairman dilated upon the issues concerning water security.
He said water security was of immense importance, and poses great threat to the socio-economic development of Pakistan.
Rapid population growth was one of the major factors behind sharp decline in per capita water availability in the country, he added.
The chairman said, “Unfortunately we do not attach any value to water; we use more water than our needs and waste it with impunity.” Thanking the delegates for their valued input, he said that the reports as well as recommendations put forth in the consultative sessions at Lahore, Islamabad and Hyderabad will be collated and presented to the prime minister for the formulation of the Prime Minister’s initiatives on water security.
Addressing the consultative session, Ministry of Water and Power Joint Secretary Syed Mehr Ali Shah explained the salient features of the draft National Water Policy.
Highlighting the need of a structured and coherent approach for water and food security, he apprised the delegates that the ministry of water and power had already circulated the draft National Water Policy to finalise it.
Former Wapda chairman Shams ul Mulk, speaking on the issue of water storages, said that dams are banks of water, as they store water when it is available in abundance and provide the same when it is needed.
He further said that water storages, besides providing water for agriculture, also generate electricity and help mitigate floods.
Former Water and Power Development Authority chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, who was representing PEC, said that ample water was available for the construction of dams.
Pakistan Commissioner for Indus waters Mirza Asif Baig explained the position about trans-boundary water issues. KP Population Welfare Secretary Fazal Nabi Khan terming the population a cross-cutting issue, briefed the session of the implications of increasing population on national resources, including water.
Zafar Iqbal from Federal Flood Commission spoke of the proposed interventions for integrated flood management in Pakistan.
Glacier Monitoring Research Centre Project Director Danial Hashmi explained the two models vis-a-vis changes in rivers’ inflows under various climate change scenarios.
Eminent water sector expert Dr Shahid Ahmed gave a critical view on water security. Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources Dr Manzoor Ahmed Malik spoke on efficient use of irrigation water at farm level, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmed on water management for Barani areas, and Sustainable Development Policy Institute Research Fellow Dr Imran Khalid spoke on the national water policy.