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Dr. Shahid Ahmad dr_shahidahmad2001@yahoo.


Trans-boundary Water Disputes

Water of western rivers is exclusively allocated to Pakistan except some entitlements for India as per Indus Water Treaty. Trans-boundary water conflicts on Indus waters are getting severe with rise in demand Pakistan is of the view that India is not implementing Treaty in letter and spirit, being upper riparian and larger country with economic and political stability is performing role of a water hegemon country.

Inter-provincial Water Conflicts

Inter-provincial water conflicts are affecting countrys plans for developing water i.e. hydro-power dams on Indus Main. Punjab is in support of Kalabagh dam and three provinces and nationalist political parties, have made it their political manifesto to oppose. KPK as upper riparian might support construction of dams if powerhouse is located in KPK to have exclusive right on royalties on hydro-power. Current formula of power royalties to province where power house is located needs review and power benefits may be provided in-line with water entitlements so that everyone has a stake in the dam.

Water Scarcity and Climate Change

Further increase in water scarcity due to increase in water demand by water subsectors due to increase in population and growing economy while addressing demand for increased food, enhanced water supply and effective sanitation Climatic and temporal hydrological variability (i.e. precipitation and river flows) in IBIS is very high, where highest annual river flows are almost double of lowest river flows

Water Scarcity and Climate Change

Seasonality posing physical and hydraulic limitations because Kharif season river flows are five-fold of Rabi season river flows. Storages have been built to transfer water of Kharif season to Rabi season but are extremely limited and live storage is reducing due to sedimentation No storage to transfer water of a wet year to a dry year posing physical limitations for management of water for expected demand. Managing water supply in five-out-of-ten-years is a real challenge when annual river flows are significantly less than mean river flows.

Droughts and Floods

Droughts and floods are common phenomena in IBIS due to extreme variability in annual river flows, but it is expected that with global warming and expected climate change frequency and severity of droughts and floods will be higher in future. If at all climate change happens, country might face serious implications on its scarce and limited water resources.

A Disconnect
Disconnect between strategy and framework of actions used for management of water as there is no link between institutions dealing with different sources of water and different sub-sectors of water use both in public-sector and NGOs. Disconnect is more serious in NGOs sector because too many NGOs are involved in water sector but there is yet no effective forum where they can join hands. They can shift their priority and focus with priority of donor and thus their capacity is not developed in specific area.

Water Productivity
Farmers and consumers of water in all the sub-sectors of water use are never considered central to planning, implementation and monitoring processes. Stakeholders participation either limited or ineffective. Water productivity is extremely low in agriculture sector crops, fuelwood, livestock, aquaculture, etc.

Water and Health Security

Coverage of water and sanitation services is poor both in the urban and rural sub-sectors. Effluents from agriculture, industry and sewage are mostly being disposed into the freshwater systems affecting flora and fauna of the river basins and the delta ecosystems.

Lack of drainage and/or ineffective management of drainage systems have caused secondary salinization and waterlogging in the basin. Still one-third of the basin command area is affected by waterlogging and salinity but almost half in Punjab. Waterlogging is more severe in a wet year Salinity is more severe in a dry year

Cost Recovery
Cost-recovery is hardly conceived or implemented in all the sub-sectors. Water fee on surface water for all subsectors is extremely low i.e. less than 2 US$ per acre per year if two crops are grown. In most of the cities, monthly bill for domestic water supply ranges from 1 to 3 US$ but service delivery is poor both in terms of quantity and quality.

No charge on groundwater and anyone can install a tubewell and pump water as they wish. Services provided in all sub-sectors of water use are extremely poor and in-equitable. Tail-enders suffers the most both in agriculture and domestic water supply.

Policy and Acts

National water policy is still in the approval process since last 6 years. Only the Balochistan province has approved IWRM Policy. Balochistan has promulgated Groundwater Administration Act in 1978 but it is still not effectively enforced outside Quetta city. Other provinces do not have any Groundwater Act.

Institutional Performance
Performance of institutions is poor and thus overall governance of water sector at all levels is deficient in many respects capacity, infrastructure, mobility, institutions, transparency, accountability, etc.

World is thirsty as we are hungry. We need to build Productive and Water Secure Pakistan
We need 80-100 litres for daily domestic needs of a person, whereas 3000 litres are needed to grow food for one person for a day.