January 2020




The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter January 28, 2020

KARACHI: In his maiden meeting with newly-appointed British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took up the issue of Kashmir urging the latter to force the Indian government to stop atrocities against the people of the occupied valley.

He said the Indian government had unleashed state terrorism against the people of Kashmir; its hatred against the Muslims could be assessed from their Citizen (Amendment) Act, 2019, in which every foreigner was acceptable to them except for Muslims.

“Now, the Indian authorities have started genocide in Kashmir and have annexed the occupied state into their umbrella by withdrawing its special status, which is sheer violation of the UN resolution,” he said.

Mr Shah urged the United Nations, international community and international human rights watchdogs to become voice of the voiceless people of Kashmir and liberate them from the clutches of and stop their genocide by the Indian state.

The British deputy high commissioner in Karachi, Mike Nithavrianakis and principal secretary to CM, Sajid Jamal Abro, also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, they discussed issues related to education and health sectors in which the British government desired to invest.

Mr Shah said teachers training programme and adoption of latest teaching methods and improvement of syllabus were some key areas where the UK and the Sindh government could work together.

The visiting British envoy assured the CM that his government would surely support Sindh in the education and health sectors.

The CM told the British diplomat that the UK government had constructed Sukkur Barrage, one of the beautiful and best barrages of the world in 1923, and now it needed massive overhauling and renovation.

“We would be glad if the British government or any British private firm may … assist the Sindh government in the rehabilitation of the barrage,” he said.

Christian Turner assured Murad that he would make efforts to support the provincial government on the matter vis-à-vis renovation of Sukkur Barrage.

Meanwhile, a delegation of McKinsey & Company, led by its managing director Ozgur Tanrikulu, called on Chief Minister Murad Shah and during the meeting they agreed to work together on capacity building of teachers, improvement of textbooks, and capacity building of hospital administration staff.

Mr Shah directed the education and health departments to sit with them and chalk out a detailed programme for implementation of reforms in education and health sectors.

Health Minister Azra Pechuho was also present in the meeting where she scheduled another meeting with the visiting delegation to discuss issues regarding training of hospital administration staff and their capacity building.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2020



By RECORDER REPORT on January 29, 2020

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dissolved Sindh Water Commission and its secretariat with directives to submit quarterly report to the court regarding implementation on commission’s recommendations. The court also clubbed the Sindh Coal Authority Karachi case and clean water case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah heard the case regarding provision of clean drinking water to the residents of Sindh province.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted report on alleged corruption in installation of RO plants. The court ordered NAB to complete references regarding cases and other matters in a month. The Chief Justice said that there was no need to form a commission over the matter.

The Water Commission also submitted a report and the court ordered Advocate General Sindh to ensure implementation of the report. The court directed that quarterly report of each district of Sindh should be submitted regarding implementation of water commission recommendations.

The Supreme Court dissolved the Sindh Water Commission and its secretariat and directed Sindh Water Commission to hand over all record to chief secretary Sindh. The court said that steps should be taken for effective legislation on clean water supply.

The Chief Justice said that hundreds of thousands of rupees were plundered and not a single RO plant was installed. He expressed annoyance over NAB’s performance, saying that instead of 4 witnesses, NAB made 200 witnesses in the case. He said the cases should be decided in one year but here NAB is taking six years.

The Chief Justice remarked that NAB has itself become an obstacle to the role it has to play for the betterment of the country. The purpose for which the NAB was established is over, he added. He remarked that the NAB has become an ‘exploitation firm’ as they put the accused for years in prison. Later, its own employees stated that the man was not guilty, he added.

The Chief Justice said that NAB should be fined billions of rupees and this amount of penalty should be collected from NAB employees as the government would not give a single rupee. He remarked that NAB does not have the ability to work. He observed that NAB’s investigating officers simply do not have the capacity to carry out the investigations to logical end.

Addressing the NAB prosecutor, the Chief Justice said that he remembered a wheat case in which a man committed suicide. He said that the NAB did not file a challan against the real culprit and an honorable man committed suicide. To a question by Justice Ahsan about the ratio of conviction in NAB cases, NAB prosecutor said that the conviction rate was 70 percent. The hearing was adjourned for one week.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



By ​ Our Correspondent Published: January 31, 2020

LAHORE: Punjab government is spending Rs8 billion on the provision of clean drinking water to the people across the province, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said.

Jointly presiding over a Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority (PAPA) meeting on Thursday, Governor Sarwar and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said previous governments had ignored the basic issue of clean drinking water.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is committed to ensuring the provision of clean drinking water to all citizens,” said the CM.

Speaking to the participants, Sarwar said that operation and maintenance units should be developed for monitoring and ensuring continued functioning of water supply schemes because access to clean drinking water was the right of every citizen.

He maintained that the best team had been available for the authority and midnight oil was being burnt for the success of this project. “We want to develop a unified model for ensuring clean drinking water for the citizens,” he said. “The commissioners and deputy commissioners will have to take a lead for this project,” added Buzdar.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2020.



Ishaq Tanoli February 02, 2020

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has dissolved its commission on water and sanitation in Sindh and directed the provincial government to implement its recommendations for proper use of water resources and improve the sanitation system, it emerged on Saturday.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed also directed the chief secretary of Sindh and the provincial law officer to file a comprehensive report after one month regarding compliance of the commission’s recommendations.

While disposing of the main petition filed in 2016 by Advocate Shahab Usto with other applications on the water and sanitation system in Sindh, the bench asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to process its investigations into embezzlement of funds in installing RO/UF plants and the Sindh Coal Authority and finalise the same expeditiously.

Tells the provincial govt to implement its recommendations, file a compliance report after one month

The bench in its order, issued on Saturday, said: “We have noted that on the last date, some suggestions were made for the appointment of the water commission. We find no reason why the water commission needs to be continued. The water commission appointed by this court has already submitted its report/recommendations”.

It further said that it was the duty of the provincial government to ensure that recommendations of the commission were implemented.

The bench directed the advocate general of Sindh to appear before it at next hearing and submit a comprehensive report regarding compliance of the commission’s recommendations and also asked the chief secretary to update the court on compliance.

The additional prosecutor general of NAB filed a report regarding embezzlement of government funds in installing RO/UF plants in Sindh and the bench noted that a similar matter was also pending at the apex court Karachi registry about the Sindh Coal Authority in which a report was also filed by the auditor general of Pakistan.

It issued directives to club both the cases and said that since these matters were pending with NAB, the investigations must be finalised expeditiously.

The bench observed that the provincial government had appropriate legislation to use and distribute water resources in Sindh and if any further law was required, it might be enacted for proper conservation, use and distribution of water resources.

Periodical reports from each district of Sindh regarding compliance of the commission’s recommendations must be submitted before the bench and such reports be obtained from the commissioners of the divisions concerned, it added.

“The water commission shall cease to exist from today and the entire record pertaining to the water commission shall be handed over by the registrar of the commission to the chief secretary, government of Sindh by tomorrow, who shall ensure its safe custody”, it ruled.

The bench directed the provincial authorities to file a preliminary report about compliance after one month and also disbanded the secretariat of the water commission and relieved its registrar Ghulam Mustafa Channa and asked him to report for duty to his original department.

The bench further ruled that periodical orders passed by the commission were not to be treated as orders of the apex court, but part of the proceedings of the commission, adding that such orders were in the nature of memorandums, recommendations or diary of the commission.

The petition was filed in 2016, and thereafter the apex court had formed the commission headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro of the Sindh High Court to hold an in-depth inquiry into the water and sanitation problems of the province and to make recommendations for improvement.

After holding a thorough probe, the commission submitted its report in the apex court and in January 2018 the Supreme Court had appointed Justice Amir Hani Muslim, former judge of the apex court, head of the commission for the implementation of the recommendations of Justice Kalhoro. Justice Muslim completed his tenure in January 2019 and since then the commission remained dormant.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2020



February 2, 2020

WASHINGTON. Ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan said on Friday a final agreement will be signed by the end of February on the giant Blue Nile hydropower dam that sparked a years-long diplomatic crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

The countries have been at odds over the filling and operation of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, which flows into the Nile river.

The three regional powers convened in Washington for what were supposed to be two days of meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to complete an agreement after talks earlier this month, but negotiations dragged into Friday and disbanded without a final accord.

In a joint statement with the United States and the World Bank after the talks, the nations said they had agreed on a schedule for staged filling of the dam and mitigation mechanisms to adjust its filling and operation during dry periods and drought.

The nations still have to finalize several aspects of the dam, including its safety and provisions for the resolution of disputes, the statement said. But it added that a final agreement on the dam would be signed by all three countries by the end of February.

“Documents to be signed will be further deliberated by legal team supported by technical team. This will continue next week to complete comprehensive document within 30 days,” Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopian minister for water, irrigation and energy, said on Twitter.

The United States has hosted several rounds of talks in Washington with ministers from the three regional powers and the World Bank after years of trilateral negotiations failed.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in a call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday, expressed optimism that an agreement on the dam was near and would benefit all parties involved, a White House spokesman said.

The dam is the centerpiece in Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter but has sparked fears in Cairo that Egypt’s already scarce supplies of Nile waters, on which its population of more than 100 million people is almost entirely dependent, would be further restricted.

Even without taking the dam into account, largely desert Egypt is short of water. It imports about half its food products and recycles about 25 billion cubic meters of water annually.

Addis Ababa, which announced the project in 2011 as Egypt was beset by political upheaval, denies the dam will undermine Egypt’s access to water.




A Correspondent January 21, 2020

BADIN: A group calling itself the Save Badin Action Committee (SBAC) on Monday announced that it would resume its sustained campaign in the first week of next month for the removal of all barricades from irrigation channels of this district as per the relevant orders of the Sindh High Court.

Speaking to the media, Mir Noor Ahmed Talpur, Azizullah Dero, Khalil Ahmed Bhurgari, Mir Ghulam Rasool Talpur, Syed Khuda Dino Shah and other members of the committee recalled that the court had on Sept 8 last year ordered formation of a committee with the task of removing all impediments obstructing flow of water in the irrigation channels of Badin district. They said the court had directed that the committee should submit its report within the next three months.

They said the department and Sida and were also flouting the court order by releasing water into flood canals at a time when most areas of this district were not getting even drinking water.

They lamented that the irrigation department and officials of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) had failed to comply with the court’s order. They said the department and Sida were still dilly-delaying on the formation of the committee even after a lapse of over four months.

They pointed out that the court had also asked the proposed committee to look into the complaints regarding diversion of irrigation water to the lands of influential figures from the command area of Sukkur Barrage.

The activists said that they intended to nominate World Bank representatives as a party when a relevant contempt petition would be taken up by the high court’s Hyderabad bench on Jan 22.

They said World Bank was funding the irrigation project costing Rs6 billion.

They urged the WB representatives here to take strong notice of the blockages created in the channels. They regretted that the WB officials did not spare time to attend any of their several meetings on the issue.

The SBAC was formed last year to raise its voice against an artificial water crisis in this district. It had run a sustained struggle for the clearance of all irrigation channels carrying water to the district.

It maintains that the water blockage was affecting over 1.5 million people in Badin district and rendering their lands barren.

Qabool Mohammad Khatian, president of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SAC) and a close aide to Pakistan Peoples Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari, has been made chairman of Left Bank Canal’s area water board which looks after irrigation water issues in lower Sindh.

The post was lying vacant after recent death of Suhail Akbar Mirza, a close relative of estranged PPP leader and former home minister Zulfikar Ali Mirza.

A notification for the appointment of Mr Khatian was issued by the Sida managing director.

Speaking to this reporter, Mr Khatian said he was given the new task on a directive of Mr Zardari. He said he would try his best to resolve the water issues of lower Sindh, including Badin district.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020



Hasan Mansoor January 22, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari inaugurated on Tuesday a new pumping station of 100 million gallons per day (mgd) at Dhabeji. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and others accompanied him while he was unveiling the plaque.

The PPP chairman asked the Sindh government to construct Haleji Lake Road for the convenience of the people of the area and visitors. After unveiling the plaque of the pumping station, he visited the complex and was briefed by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board managing director.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the topmost issue for the people of Sindh was the availability of safe drinking water when his party went to the masses and gathered their demands.

The new pumping station would help allay the water woes of the people of Karachi while water would also be supplied to Thatta, Sujawal and Gharo from there, he said.

“Similar projects aimed at improving infrastructure have been initiated elsewhere in Sindh,” said the PPP leader. He said new lines had been laid on thousands of kilometres in the province.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari appreciated CM Shah declaring that he was the “most efficient” chief minister in the country.

Murad Ali Shah said the Council of Common Interests’ meeting was not summoned within a year and when it was called its minutes were delayed and when the minutes were finally released they were deliberately written in a “manipulative” manner to further delay the implementation of the decisions taken in the meeting.

“This is how things are moving but even then we will continue to struggle to get the due rights of the people of Sindh,” he said.

Provincial ministers Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah and Murtaza Baloch; advisers Murtaza Wahab and Aijaz Shah Shirazi; senior officials and party workers of Thatta, Sujawal and Karachi attended the ceremony.

Mr Shah said that after a hue and cry for over a year, a CCI meeting was convened. The minutes of the meeting were delayed for around one month and when the minutes were released, he found them “hotchpotch”, thus, he sent them back after necessary corrections.

He thanked Mr Bhutto-Zardari who, within a month, inaugurated the third phase of the development schemes and projects.

“You had inaugurated roads and underpasses in Karachi twice within 15 days and now after another two weeks you have inaugurated the newly established 100mgd pumping house,” he said.

He added that the people of Hyderabad had also requested the party chairman to inaugurate their water supply, sanitation and road sector projects.

Syed Murad Ali Shah announced that the PPP chief would soon perform the stone-laying ceremony of Ghotki-Kashmore bridge on the Indus. “This would be a third bridge on the river being constructed by our government from its own resources,” he said.

The chief minister said some federal ministers were fond of unveiling plaques of already launched projects while “some of them have broken the nameplates of projects”.

“If you are so interested in performing inaugurations of projects then come to Sindh, here we have completed a lot of schemes and we do not have time to inaugurate them,” he said.

“We will give you a chance to inaugurate our schemes, and as a matter of fact, you are in a habit of inaugurating schemes that other governments had completed.”

About the 100mgd pumping station, Mr Shah said all its machinery, including motors, had been imported from Germany.

“These are four pumping machines, each with a capacity of 25mgd, thus, the total capacity comes to 100mgd,” he said, calling it good news for the people of Karachi.

Mr Shah disclosed that 260mgd additional water was available in the system for Karachi but due to lack of the required infrastructure and defective conveyance system that water could not be provided to the city.

“At present, Karachi is being provided 450mgd and with the commission of the new 100mgd pumping house, 50mgd additional water would be added for Karachi. It means from the Keenjhar source the city will receive a total of 500mgd,” he said.

CM Shah added that Karachi was receiving 100mgd from the Hub source but due to defects in the canal, line losses had gone up to 30mgd.

The chief minister said he had held a meeting and approved renovation, revamping and reconstruction of the canal from Hub to Karachi West district to ensure 100mgd was brought to the city. Thus, the KWSB would be able to provide 600mgd to the city soon.

“We are constructing the K-IV project in collaboration with the federal government and all bottlenecks and design defects, if any, would be removed soon,” he said.

Officials said the pumping station constructed under phase-I was originally commissioned in 1959. It had 1,400 horsepower motor pumps operating on diesel and gas. This old pumping station was manufactured by a German company and its pumps were still being operated or used with extensive repairs but its efficiency or capacity had deteriorated.

They said the old pumping station constructed in 1959 under phase-I of the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply scheme (K-I phase-I) had outlived its design life and had been in operation for the last 60 years. Therefore, the officials added, the government decided to construct the new pump house in its place. The new pump house has the capacity of 100mgd and it would add 50mgd to the system which was not being supplied to the city due to old machines.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2020



Ikram Junaidi Updated January 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Diplomatic channels need to be open for ‘hydro diplomacy’ that can address water management issues between India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, conference participants said on Thursday.

The conference, titled ‘Water Beyond Borders’, was organised by Lead Pakistan. Parliamentarians, diplomats and water experts were among the participants.

Water is a basic human right, Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz said, but the population explosion, technological boom and high demand for water has led to a global water shortage that is endangering millions.

Mr Faraz said that cooperative ties between water-sharing nations are critical to ensuring adequate access to water, adding that Afghanistan’s push to build dams to store and regulate water was an indirect blow to Pakistan.

He said that if this shared resource was not mutually regulated through political cooperation, it could lead to a drastic shortage.

National conference on ‘Water Beyond Borders’ attended by parliamentarians, diplomats and experts

Despite a treaty, he added, India threatened to block Pakistan’s share of water flowing from its borders. Mr Faraz said this was a violation of international law, but it is an aspect to be aware of and prepare for in case of any conflict.

The availability of water means everything to Pakistan, an agricultural national with the world’s most interconnected irrigation system, he said. He added that this was why the government began the Diamer-Bhasha dam project, which would neutralise external water threats by ensuring adequate water storage in the country.

Mr Faraz said the Indus Water Treaty was a model and a test case that is working between neighbouring countries in conflict with each other.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate ChangeMalik Amin Aslam said that Pakistan’s challenge was to manage its shared water resources.

He said that the Indus Water Treaty needs to be revisited to account for climate change variability and sharing groundwater aquifer.

The total water available is the sum of total run-off water and stored water, Punjab Irrigation Minister Mohsin Leghari explained. He said that storage is decreasing because of increasing siltation in dams, which needs to be addressed.

Former Water and Power secretary Ashfaq Mehmood said the next step after planning a water policy should be continuous monitoring and accountability to ensure that action plans work efficiently.

Senator Usman Kakar told the conference that the provinces have not been given their due share, including when it comes to water distribution. He said that parliament was not being taken into confidence on this critical matter.

“The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa do not get their share of water; 92 million acre feet of water passes under the Attock Bridge but Balochistan does not get its share, which is equal to Tarbela Dam,” he added.

Senator Kakar said that the people of Afghanistan already have concerns that Pakistan wants to occupy their water. He suggested Pakistan improve relations with Afghanistan, as Pakistan may otherwise face water issues.

A book on trans-boundary waters was also launched at the event. The book contains the perspective of the public and private sectors, industry and agriculture, academia, international development institutions and local NGOs on water, environment and climate concerns for Pakistan and the Indus region at large.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020



By RECORDER REPORT on January 24, 2020

KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed to ensure the construction of water courses in Gomal Zam Dam (GZD) Command Area within stipulated timeline further directing for plantation along canal sites so as to prevent soil erosion in the adjoining areas.

He issued these directives while presiding over a progress review meeting regarding the command area development programme of Gomal Zam Dam Project at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar.

The meeting was attended by Minister Environment Ishtiaq Urmar, Advisor to CM on Energy Hamayatullah, Principal Secretary to CM Shahab Ali Shah, Secretary Agriculture Muhammad Israr, Secretary Irrigation, Chief Engineer Irrigation, Project Director (PD) Gomal Zam Dam Muhammad Zubair and others.

The meeting was briefed in detail on Gomal Zam Dam Command Area Development Programme and the progress made so far. The meeting was informed that total cost of the project is Rs3337.6 million out of which foreign assistance is Rs2200.8 million while share of the provincial government is Rs489.51 million in cash and Rs221.4 million in kind.

Similarly, the share of farmer is Rs462.48 million. It was further told that with the completion of GZD project will add approximately two lakh acre cultivable additional land.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



OUR CORRESPONDENT January 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Politicians and agricultural and water experts have put stress on the need to build new water reservoirs, bringing innovation in agricultural sector and introducing measures to reduce unnecessary use of water resources to combat the water crisis facing the country.

“Currently Pakistan is facing serious shortage of water. We need to change our agricultural practices and take concrete steps to prevent water loss,” said Leader  of the House in Senator Shibli Faraz while addressing a national seminar on water issues and shared water management  of Thursday.

Faraz also talked about India’s illegal attempt to choke Pakistan’s water supply despite the World Bank brokered 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. He said the major source of water in Pakistan is the Indus Water System but despite the Indus Water Treaty India threatens to suspend Pakistan’s water supply.

“India’s attempt to stop water of Pakistan is in violation of the Pak-India water accord,” he said.

The senator said Pakistan has developed a comprehensive policy to tackle water crisis but it needs to change its agricultural systems and practices by taking concrete steps to prevent water loss. “The underground water level in the country is constantly decreasing, especially in Balochistan where conditions are very alarming,” he said.

Climate change consultant Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan is vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change and is ranked fifth among the countries most affected by climate change.

He said there are vast resources of water in Pakistan but it is unable to make proper arrangements for storing the water. He said Pakistan will have to build dams to store flood water and divert it towards barren land and need to improve underground water levels.

“The government has developed a programme called Recharge Pakistan with the purpose to divert flood water towards arid areas. We have to discuss water issues with neighbouring countries like China, Afghanistan and India,” he said.

Punjab’s Minister for Irrigation Mohsin Laghari said Pakistan will have to make more water reservoirs.

“The water situation in the country is the same as it was at the time of formation of Pakistan, but today the population of the country has increased manifold, while agricultural and industrial demand has increased several times.”

Senator Usman Kakar said Balochistan is the worst affected by the water crisis.



By MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN on January 25, 2020

Punjab and Sindh have agreed an audit of the water in the Indus Basin system including systems of both provinces through a Panel of Experts (PoE) whose results will be accepted by both parties. This consensus between the provinces was evolved after discussions in a panel headed by Khalid Hussain Magsi.

Chairman National Assembly Standing on Water Resources, Nawab Yousuf Talpur had constituted the panel to discuss the distribution of water amongst the provinces. Federal Member (IRSA) Asjad Imtiaz Ali was entrusted to mediate between Members of IRSA from Sindh and Punjab for resolution of water distribution issues between Sindh and Punjab.

According to the report, essence of which was shared with the committee members, in compliance of the directions, detailed meetings were held on November 19, 2019, December 16, 2019 and finally on January 20, 2020. Both members Sindh and Punjab elaborated their points of view and stated their arguments. Presentations were made and issues/ concerns of both the provinces were brought forward by the members.

The brief shared with the committee says ‘as this is an issue of strategic importance and has been discussed ever since the Water Apportionment Accord, 1991 and subsequent establishment of IRSA, an amicable way forward was sought to settle this long outstanding issue.’

In the final meeting held on January 20, 2020, the following unanimous decisions were taken: (i) an audit of the water in the Indus Basin system would be carried out; (ii) the audit would be done for the entire system and for the provincial systems of Punjab and Sindh; (iii) for this purpose, a POE, acceptable to both provinces would be chosen. It was also agreed that both the provinces would accept the results formulated by the POE; (iv) POE would undertake measurements at Thal Canal, Taunsa, Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages along with measurements at Patfeeder and Kirther canals and B-S, M-R and T-S Link canals, as previous readings/measurements at these sites were not acceptable to Member IRSA Sindh; and (v) IRSA team would conduct surprise checks/visits of agreed sites.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources discussed the water issue briefly and decided to submit its recommendations in the forthcoming meeting after going through the detailed report.

The representative of Balochistan government informed the committee that in the previous meeting, Balochistan had insisted that the water issues between Balochistan and Sindh should also be included in the report. However, this was not made part of the committee’s terms of reference.

The committee appreciated the efforts of convener of the committee, Khalid Magsi for bringing provinces on one page for audit of the water. Khawaja Asif, PML (N) Parliamentary Leader stated that there is a special need for an awareness campaign on water conservation adding that Pakistan has sufficient water but there is a need to utilize it judiciously and “if we succeed in doing so, 35 per cent or 40 per cent water can be conserved.” He said, “water terrorism by India is mere a myth.”

In Pakistan vehicles are washed with drinking water and people even keep the tap open while shaving thus wasting water. He cited former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who showered with one bucket.

Khawaja Asif further stated that local electronic media should air public service message on the need for water conservation. He said, millions of rupees were spent on Diamer Bhasha project “drama” and the monetization of time spent on campaign of Dasu and Mohmand will be in millions if not billions of rupees.

The committee sought details of amount spent on the Diamer Bhasha campaign including abroad. The representative of Ministry of Water Resources informed the committee that a letter has been written to the Supreme Court Registrar in this regard. A reminder has also been sent to SC but no response has been received so far.

Director PEMRA informed the committee that all the satellite television channels allocated total airtime of 355,018 minutes during the period from July 2018 to October 2019 for public service messages on collection of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam fund, free of cost in support of a national cause and created public awareness on water scarcity and conservation as well as highlighted the need for constructing new dams.

The committee directed the Director PEMRA to write letters to the State Bank of Pakistan and/or Supreme Court to allocate money on an awareness campaign. Standing Committee directed the Ministry of Water Resources to provide an implementation status of the National Water Policy approved during the previous government.

Chairman IRSA informed the committee that due to recent rains, there is no shortage in the share of provinces. Balochistan’s designated member informed the committee that his province was facing 25 per cent shortfall for the last few months despite zero shortage. Special Secretary Irrigation Sindh, (the province releases Balochistan’s share from Sukkur Barrage) provided several justifications for releasing less water prompting Chairman Standing Committee to direct Sindh to release due share of Balochistan.

During discussion, Khalid Magsi said “we opposed Kalabagh Dam with Sindh at every forum but if our share is not given, then we don’t have any objection to the project.”

Chairman Standing Committee argued that all the federating units should be given water according to their share. Chairman IRSA, Dawood Khan said that he as Secretary Irrigation KP had raised objections on the report of Attorney General and presence of Chief Minister Sindh in the committee meeting constituted to formulate report on three tiers formula of water distribution.

During discussion on installation of new telemetry system, Member IRSA informed the committee that the system established in 2003 by Wapda did not give accurate measurement of water releases which was proved manually. The new telemetry system will be established by IRSA from its own resources as the World Bank’s recommended firm did not perform well in Punjab and government decided not go for funding from World Bank.

The committee was informed that system will be installed in two and half years’ time. However, the committee urged that as it was very important for confidence building between the provinces, hence, installation time should be shortened.

Khawaja Saad Rafique who was brought from jail to attend the meeting urged IRSA officials to complete the project within a minimum time period citing completion of Railways projects within the shortest time period when he was minister with the help of the bureaucracy. Member IRSA committed that all possible efforts would be made to shorten the completion period.

The committee deferred the issue of “Chirrah Dam” and decided to take up this item in its next meeting.

Besides others, the meeting was attended Ch Shaukat Ali Bhatti,. Muhammad Farooq Azam Malik, Ch Javed Iqbal Warraich, Ms Naureen Farooq Khan, Ms. Nuzhat Pathan, Khalid Hussain Magsi, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Ch Riaz-ul-Haq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, Munir Khan Orakzai.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



By RECORDER REPORT on January 25, 2020

The Punjab Aab Pak Authority (PAPA) has formally initiated restoration and repair work on all non-functional water filtration plants in three districts, namely Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha.

In order to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the people, committees under chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioners have been constituted in 36 districts of Punjab for installation and restoration of filtration plants, disclosed PAPA spokesperson here on Friday.

In this connection, a meeting of the Authority was held with its Patron-in-Chief Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar in the chair. PAPA Chief Executive Officer/WASA Managing Director Zahid Aziz, PAPA Chairman Gen Ahmed Nawaz Saleem Mela (rerd), Board Member/Principal Secretary to Governor Dr Rashid Mansoor and other members of the board attended the meeting.

The meeting was briefed that after assessing the lists of non-operative filtration plants in Lahore and other districts of Punjab, work on restoration of such filtration plants has formally been commenced in Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha, and respective Deputy Commissioners are looking into all matters.

During the meeting, PAPA’s Patron-in-Chief Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said that the Authority has set the target to provide clean drinking water to 20 million people of Punjab by June 2020 for which effective measures are being put in place.

“Each penny of the Authority will transparently be spent on provision of clean water to the masses. I will review progress on filtration plants’ restoration work on weekly basis and any leniency in this regard will not be tolerated. In the first phase, those districts are being focused where the water problem is severe, and rural areas are also among government’s priorities,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



By RECORDER REPORT on January 25, 2020

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and a World Bank Regional Director, South Asia, Johan Roome met here on Friday at CM House and discussed the provincial government’s development priorities and how the bank could support them and also discussed World Bank on-going and pipeline projects.

The others in the bank’s delegation were Lixin Gu, the program leader and Ms Namoos Zaheer, the senior financial sector specialists. Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro and Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi were attended the meeting.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah spelling out his priorities said that he had equally focused on the development of urban and rural areas. The urban area needed drinking water and water for industrial requirements while the rural areas were in need of efficient agricultural water system for growth of the agro-sector. He said that the other important project was urban transport projects under which 21-km Yellow Line Corridor has to be developed with the assistance of the World Bank under the name of Karachi Mobility Project (KMP). It may be noted that Yellow Line Corridor staring from Dawood Chowrangi to Numasih, 21 km, has three components. They are Urab road project (façade to façade) and development and operationalization of a Bus Rapid Transit System and capacity building and building assistance.

The chief minister said that the World Bank had approved a loan of $382 million in June 2019 and the loan agreement was signed on November 2019.

Giving progress of the project, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem said that Project Director would appoint very soon. The provincial government was in the process of appointing six procurement specialists. Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi pointed out the provincial government with the World Bank has trained 550 Procurement Officers of Grade BS-17 and six of them would be posted in the project.

The World Bank Regional Director was told that the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the position of director and Procurement Specialists were ready and would be advertised within a month. The account of the project was being opened for which most of the formalities have been completed.

The chief minister discussing the World Bank-assisted Karachi Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project is aimed at improving access to safe water services in the city and to increase KWSB’s financial and operational performance. It was pointed out that the loan was signed in December 2019. It is a total $100 billion projects in which $40 million would be provided by IBRD, another $40 million by AIIB and $20 million by Sindh government.

Shah said that under the project there would be utility reforms and rehabilitation of water and sewerage network. Talking about progress of the work, he said that KWSB has been reconstituted, steering committee has been established, PD of the project has been posted and World Bank has approved a procurement document of $6 million.

They also discussed Second Karachi Water and Sewerage Services Improvement project of $600 million in which $240 million would be given by IBRD, $240 million by AIIB and $120 million by Sindh government.

Murad Ali Shah said that this component include K-IV augmentation, bulk supply options and installation of new filtration plants. Chairman P&D Waseem said that the chief minister has approved the investment plant but yet to share with the World Bank.

The chief minister and World Bank Regional Director also discussed Sindh Water Sector Improvement (SWIP) of $257.6 million. The objective of the project is to improve efficiency and effectiveness of Irrigation water distribution in three main canals, Ghotki, Nara and Left Bank, with asset management and future planning components.

Murad Ali Shah said that feasibility studies for rehabilitation and modernization of Gudu Barrage were being conducted. He said that the modernizing the irrigation/multi-sectorial water infrastructure covering 1.8 million hectare would be developed. He added that institutional reforms focusing on devolution of managerial responsibilities to farmers through Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Area Water Boards and Farmers Organization would be made.

The chief minister said that its impact would be improved water delivery (equity and reliability) for 1.8 million hectares for agriculture, and more than 100 villages/towns benefiting more than five million people.

Under the project water availability up to the tail end of Ghotki, Thar Desert and Badin would be enabled. “This will be achieved through Sindh Water Policy,” he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



By ​ Our Correspondent Published: January 26, 2020

LAHORE: The apparel industry has criticised what it called excessive billing by the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Lahore, believing high energy costs coupled with rising water charges will have a disastrous impact on exports and trigger a crisis in the export-oriented textile sector.

Speaking at a meeting of industrial representatives on Saturday, Sunder Industrial Estate Garment City Director Adeeb Iqbal urged the Punjab government to immediately issue directives and stop officials of the Environment Department from harassing businessmen. He revealed that officials of the provincial body were frequently visiting business premises of industrialists and such a move would reverse all efforts of the government aimed at accelerating economic activities in the province.

He added that aquifer charges of Rs100,000 per month, imposed on the industries extracting water through tube wells of one-cusec capacity, were exorbitant and should be rationalised.

He urged Wasa to review its decision of fixing water charges on a monthly basis for the industrial sector.

Iqbal elaborated that the agency had fixed Rs100,000 per month and Rs50,000 per month for the installation of tube wells having capacity of one cusec and half cusec respectively by the industrial and commercial sectors while a 10% surcharge was also applicable to late payment.

“At a time when the industry is in trouble due to high input costs, falling competitiveness in the international market and various other challenges, fixing water charges will give birth to further challenges to the industrial sector,” he remarked.

The garment city director recalled that earlier businessmen calculated the return on investment keeping in view the cost of doing business but under the present scenario, they could not plan for the future at all.

“The garment industry, being one of the stakeholders, wants to give suggestions for a sustainable road map for the restoration of natural ecology of the provincial capital,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2020.



By Editorial Published: January 26, 2020

Efforts to provide clean drinking water, especially in water-deficit areas, are laudable. The European Union is spending 40 million euros on various projects to provide clean drinking water to the people of Balochistan. “The province of Balochistan is among the top priorities in the EU’s development programme in Pakistan so we have been cooperating with the provincial government to ensure facilities to the locals,” said EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara while speaking the other day at a convention held under the auspices of the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP). The envoy announced more social development programmes for local communities and Afghan refugees in the province. She said the EU has always valued Pakistan’s efforts in providing a safe and healthy environment to Afghan refugees who fled war in their country. She expressed sorrow over the recent destruction in Balochistan caused by snowfall and heavy rains and pledged that the EU would support the provincial government in its efforts to provide relief to the affectees.

Balochstan Governor Amanullah Yasinzai and other dignitaries, present at the convention, praised the support of the EU in providing basic facilities in the province. He said the Balochistan government, with the support of social development organisations and the EU, was taking steps for the uplift of the province. He also lauded the efforts of the BRSP in this regard. Provincial Finance Minister Zahoor Buledi said the incumbent Balochistan government had launched various development projects for the betterment of the people. Balochistan is a sprawling region where the availability of fresh water is limited. Not many areas have an ensured supply of safe drinking water. Since clean drinking water is essential for human health, the projects underway to provide safe drinking water to the people assumes significance. We hope the projects are completed at the earliest and do not suffer from official red tape.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2020.




The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter Updated January 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday had a word of advice for elected governments that they should put their act together to avoid complications in future.

“The Supreme Court wants to support constitutional governments and it is their duty to comply with the law,” observed Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

The observation came when Justice Bandial while heading a three-judge bench expressed displeasure over slackness on the part of the Sindh government in drafting a model law for the conservation of the precious water resource, installation of flow meters at different beverage factories and revenue collection for using groundwater.

The apex court had taken up a suo motu case regarding the sale of bottled water extracted from underground sources without any charge and the bottled water’s quality and fitness for human consumption as well as a set of review petitions against the order of imposition of water cess.

The court, however, appreciated the Punjab government when its Additio­nal Advocate General (AAG) Chaud­hry Faisal Hussain informed it that the province had enacted a law to levy charges on the use of groundwater.

Punjab has enacted law on commercial use of groundwater and collected a hefty amount in water cess, court told

The AAG also informed the court that the Punjab government had recovered a hefty amount of Rs832 million as water cess.

The court asked federal Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti to commence discussion with all the provinces and the stakeholders on the draft law proposed by the attorney general office, which deals with taxation on water.

The court said that during the consultation it should be ensured that the draft law met the constitutional requirements and an appropriate mechanism should be evolved to meet the objective of the current proceedings and sustaining the efforts of water conservation.

The court noted that the Punjab government had installed flow meters at most of the beverage industries, but clarified that uniform standard of the flow meters should be ensured by the regulatory authorities concerned throughout the country at the cost of the units where such meters would be installed.

Referring to the Sindh government, the SC bench regretted that the province was not organised in its efforts to comply with the earlier court order, adding that there might be a will but the initiative belied the efforts.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, a member of the bench, also regretted that the federal government’s funding of Rs6 billion for the development of an outflow canal to construct Nai Gaj dam in Sindh had just disappeared in thin air.

The additional secretary of local government, Sindh, who was present in the court, asked for time to comply with the earlier directive. The court, however, expected that written reports would be filed highlighting what had been done, otherwise the chief secretary of the province would appear before the court to justify the delay on the next date of hearing.

The next hearing will be held sometimes next month.

Some flak was also reserved for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when the court observed that progress in the province was also slow since flow meters had been installed only at 12 units whereas 13 others were still unregulated.

The province needed to realise the importance of water conservation but it was not taking it seriously, though it had a massive quantity of water, Justice Bandial regretted.

The Islamabad Capital Territory informed the court that it had collected Rs50m from two major beverages units.

The court made it clear that till the flow meters were installed throughout the country, the effort to collect the requisite charges from the commercial industrial concerns for use of groundwater would be on the basis of sales tax. Once the meters are installed, the court will consider applying the volume of water being consumed as the basis to collect the revenue.

Prof Dr Mohammad Ahsan Siddiqui, an environmental scientist who had been appointed head of a special committee on water by the court, was asked to furnish details about a proposed free-of-cost design he had conceived to reduce sewage of water and recycling of the water used.

The project will then be circulated among the stakeholders to comment. The industries which have adopted the design are also required to report about their experience with the technology.

On a suggestion by the federal additional attorney general, the court issued a notice to the Pakistan Council of Water Research, seeking its assistance on water conservation as well as efficient utilisation of scarce resources and waste water treatment.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2020



Khaleeq Kiani Updated January 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing about $29 billion in economic losses every year on account of unutilised flow of river waters into the sea due to limited water storage capacity.

“We and our coming generations would die of hunger if we do not build dams,” Rao Irshad Ali Khan, Member Punjab of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa), told the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources on Tuesday. The meeting was presided over by Senator Mohammad Yousuf Badini.

The committee ordered completion of the process to award by June the contract for establishment of the telemetry system for accurate reporting of water flows and immediate appointment of Irsa’s member from Balochistan.

At the outset, the senators expressed displeasure over the absence of Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda from the meeting. Mr Badini said it was unfortunate that the “Faisal Vawda bootwala” had enough time to appear in talk shows and make mockery of state institutions with show of boots but did not attend committee meetings about his ministry.

Coming generations will die of hunger if dams not built, Senate panel warned

Irshad Khan told the committee that one million acre feet (MAF) water on average irrigated four million acres of land and the economic value of 1MAF water was estimated at $1bn. He said that about 29MAF water on average was going downstream Kotri — the last structure on the Indus system for water regulation — and falling into the Arabian Sea every year.

“We can save this water by increasing storage capacity and bring virgin land under cultivation, but unfortunately this has been going down the drain since 1976,” he said, adding: “Our population is increasing day by day and if we keep losing, the day is not far off when people would be on roads due to hunger. We will die of hunger. Our future generations will die of hunger without additional dams.”

Mr Khan said Mangla and Tarbela dams had storage capacity of 7.3MAF and 6MAF, respectively, and even the storage of Mangla dam had dropped from 9.7MAF.

Responding to a question about Sindh-Punjab dispute over interpretation of the water accord in times of water shortages, he said the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) had presented a report on legal interpretation of water distribution to the Council of Common Interests at its meeting on Dec 23. However, he said the issue was so sensitive that the prime minister had constituted a committee led by the AGP and comprising advocates general for the four provinces and technical experts to submit recommendations on the subject for a way forward.

The committee was informed that the telemetry system to check water flows was a national project currently under an implementation stage, but the contract given to a firm for installation of telemetry gauges was withdrawn after the Punjab government reported its unsatisfactory performance. Therefore, the water regulator has now decided to go for re-bidding.

Yousuf Badini expressed displeasure over the selection and withdrawal process for a national project and observed that another province could come up with reservations over the next contractor. He expressed surprise that the said contractor was still working in Punjab and the provincial government had not blacklisted it for ‘unsatisfactory performance’. It appeared, he said, that beneficiaries of the inaccurate recording of water flows were creating hurdles.

The committee directed that the contractor be appointed by June this year.

A senior official of the Punjab irrigation department said the province had no objection to the telemetry system and in fact the provincial government had always supported and advocated for the project. He said Punjab would even encourage deputation of independent inspectors at all discharge points of the irrigation system until the telemetry system was made operational.

The committee was informed that an Irsa inspection team had visited various places in July last year and noted a huge difference in reported and actual flows. For example, the team found that Sindh irrigation officials were misreporting 5,273 cusecs at Pat Feeder, 21,000 cusecs on downstream and 6,000 cusecs at Nara Canal.

This was challenged by a senior official of the Sindh irrigation department that the flow at Nara Canal was reported about 21,000 cusecs, but a study showed the maximum capacity of the canal was only 14,000 cusecs. He said Sindh had serious reservations over the redesigning of Greater Thal Canal (GTC) because any development in the upstream of the Indus system would affect the downstream irrigation. The official said GTC’s capacity was being enhanced from 2,000 cusecs allowed in the water accord to 5,500 cusecs because Punjab wanted to draw higher than allowed share.

Punjab officials said the GTC expansion was an old project and Irsa had also issued a no-objection certificate in the past. They said every province had the right to draw its water share from where it found feasible.

Water Resources Secretary Mohammad Ashraf endorsed Punjab’s viewpoint, saying the province had a right to use its water share from any point and Sindh’s reservations were unjustified. He told the committee that a technical adviser for the telemetry system would be hired within 180 days and the entire project was expected to be operational in about two years.

The committee recommended that until this process is completed, water inspectors should be deputed at distribution points to keep a check on any irregularities that may occur.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020



By RECORDER REPORT on January 17, 2020

The Managing Director of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB), Asadullah Khan Thursday said that Karachi was facing 700 MGD shortage of water and only 45 percent of the required water is available.

He said not a single project of water supply had completed since 14 years despite the speedy increase of population in Karachi.

Speaking at a meeting of Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI), Asadullah said that industry is the lifeline of the country and we understand its significance, however the board was facing many problems.

He said that after the establishment of new pumping station in Dhabeji 40 MGD of water would be secured which would benefit the industry and people of the city.

He said that no unfair dues would be charged from industries.

He said that a review petition has been filed with the apex court regarding charges on subsoil water. “Our suggestion was 7 paisa per liter and industry was demanding 5 paisa per liter. After deliberations we would present our terms to the court,” he added.

He announced that a senior official of KWSB, Saeed Sheikh has been made focal person for the area. We have also allotted a pair of sanitation machinery to remove the hurdles in sewerage system.

KATI President Sheikh Umer Rehan said although recoveries from the industry are hundred percent, it has been deprived of water.

He said even the sewerage issue wasn’t resolved and streets and roads of Korangi Industrial Area have turned into pools. He urged the MD to resolve this issue on priority basis.

Umer Rehan said that industry was also facing a huge cost of doing business and water crisis making it worse. “It is hitting the exports of the country badly.”

KITE Chairman Zubair Chhaya said that KWSB was asking for dues from the industry which we will not pay.

He said the government is not providing water so we opt for the subsoil option… surprisingly it is also being charged, which is not acceptable.

Masood Naqi demanded that quota of water should be fixed for Korangi Industrial Area.

He urged the KWSB MD to raise industrialists’ concerns during the litigation process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



By MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN on January 17, 2020

Indus River System Authority (Irsa) said on Thursday that if additional water reservoirs are not constructed in the country, people will die from starvation, and the government would face massive protests as Pakistani population is expected to increase manifold by 2025.

These apprehensions were placed before Senate Committee on Water Resources, presided over by Senator Yousaf Badini.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources on Thursday directed the Indus Water System Authority (IRSA) to install telemetry system at earliest for ensuring judicious water distribution among the provinces.

Briefing the committee, Member Irsa Punjab, Rao Irshad Ali Khan, said that the share of provinces can only be increased if water reservoirs are constructed.

Presently, on average since 1947 to 2018, around 29MAF water goes to the sea per annum without being used. If that water is stored by constructing reservoirs ‘it would become Pakistan’s additional resource’. He said, wastage of 29MAF water means that Pakistan has been losing $ 29 billion in economic value per annum for the last 43 years. Pakistan can irrigate 20 million acres of land in Balochistan (15 million), Sindh (2.5 million acres) and Punjab (2.5 million acres) if water reservoirs are constructed.

The per capita water availability in Pakistan at present is around 865 cubic meters which is likely to go down to 850 cubic meters in 2025.

He said, in 2025 Pakistan is likely to face shortage due to increase in population and Pakistanis will starve as a result of food shortage. He cited the example of the controversial Faizabad sit-in, with gathering of around 3000 people, which created problems for the government.

“Five percent of the population facing starvation means 10 million people and if these people come out on the streets it will be difficult to maintain law and order. Be aware of the time when those starving come out from their houses and challenge the law and order situation,” he continued.

Sensing that Irsa representative was very vocal, Secretary Water Resources, Muhammad Ashraf, asked him to proceed to the next topic.

Irsa representative further stated that Pakistan has surplus water only in three months, i.e, June, July and August compared to requirements. Pakistan’s requirement is 290,000 cusecs. In three months 70 percent water is stored in reservoirs whereas in Rabi only 20 percent water is received.

He stated that before the construction of reservoirs Pakistan did not have any stored water. In Chenab inflows reduce to 8000 cusecs and Indus 16000 or 17000 cusecs respectively during the winter months.

Rao Irshad said that Pakistan receives water inflows of 145MAF per annum of which 90 MAF is from Indus system, Jehlum 22MAF, Chenab 26 MAF, eastern rivers 6 MAF.

Secretary Water Resources said that water issues are settled at the level of Council of Common Interests (CCI) and Senate Committee cannot discuss such issues. However, Senator Walid Iqbal said that the committee can get an update on water issues.

The representative of Punjab government citing an inspection report of Irsa which says that Sindh is concealing water figures suggested that telemetry system should be installed as early as possible to ensure transparency and confidence building amongst the federating units.

Senator Sana Jamali also urged Irsa to install telemetry system to ensure judicious distribution of water.

The committee was informed that Irsa had sought bids for installation of telemetry system but the process was halted after it was reported that the bidder’s performance in Punjab was not satisfactory. Irsa will again seek bids for the project. The system will be installed in two years time. The committee directed IRSA to expedite the process.

According to official statement, the meeting commenced with a briefing on issues regarding distribution amongst provinces as per the Water Apportionment Accord 1991. The committee was informed that the record of actual average system uses for the period 1977-82, would form the guideline for developing a future regulation pattern. These ten daily uses would be adjusted pro-rata to correspond to the indicated seasonal allocations for the different canal systems and would form the basis for sharing shortages and surpluses on all Pakistan basis.

The mechanism of distribution entails estimation of water available before the crop, approval of technical/advisory committee as per Water Apportionment Accord 1991 and criteria for reservoirs operation. Provinces prepare their canal withdrawal plans as per their allocated shares. The provinces place their indents on 5 daily to 10 daily basis to Irsa. Provinces supply their water account on 10 daily basis and statements are reviewed and circulated to all the provinces by Irsa for reconciliation and transparency.

The committee enquired about the telemetry system that is to be installed to check water flows. The committee recommended until this process is completed, water inspectors be deputed at distributions points to keep a check on any irregularities that may occur. The Committee was also informed that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are exempted from water shortages and that development of Karez and Dams must be expedited to conserve water in these two provinces.

While discussing the Extension of Pat Feeder Canal Project and issues regarding non-payment of dues to contractors the Committee questioned the need of a third party in the project. It directed Government of Balochistan, Irrigation Department to submit all documentation including court orders and the NDC Report. It instructed that all third party claims must be settled within a week so that contractors do not suffer.

The committee was briefed about the progress on the construction of small dams in Balochistan the committee asserted that to expedite the process a letter will be sent to Secretary Irrigation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



Editorial January 18, 2020

THE Senate standing committee that was informed about water being ‘unutilised’ downstream of Kotri should disregard these words, and focus, instead, on getting Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda to answer its summons. During a hearing, the standing committee on water was told by the Member Punjab of the Indus River System Authority, Rao Irshad Ali Khan, that water worth $29bn flows downstream Kotri Barrage into the sea ‘unutilised’ every year. Mr Khan urged the construction of more dams for water storage so that this water could be utilised for irrigation purposes. His argument, as well as the calculation he presented, is entirely flawed and should be ignored. The more important observation during the hearing was made by the committee’s chair, when he noted that the water minister seemed to have plenty of time for making himself and his government appear absurd thanks to his controversial stunts on TV talk shows, but had no time to appear before parliament, which is his constitutionally mandated duty.

It must be emphasised again and again that dams are not the solution to Pakistan’s growing water challenges. Pakistan’s per capita availability of water is only slightly above 1,000 cubic metres per annum, which is considered the threshold below which a country can be defined as ‘water scarce’. Water withdrawals from the country’s river system and groundwater reservoirs are staggeringly high by any standards. The United Nations has estimated that 74pc of the country’s renewable water supply is withdrawn, whereas a value of 25pc is considered high stress. The same percentage in Iran is 67pc, India 40pc, Afghanistan 31pc and China 19.5pc. Clearly, Pakistan is squandering its water resources, and an increased amount of water withdrawal from the system will only aggravate the problem, not solve it. In December 2019, the World Meteorological Organisation noted that a new tool to estimate the likelihood of conflict due to water scarcity showed Pakistan to be at “significant risk” of experiencing water-related conflict in some parts within the next 12 months.

Time and again, those who have taken a close look at Pakistan’s water economy have said the problem is not lack of storage, but the wasteful utilisation of this precious resource. The existing irrigation system collects less than a quarter of its operation and maintenance cost from water charges (abiana), with the rest having to come from government resources. The lack of proper pricing is at the heart of the water economy’s dysfunction. But for water pricing to work, a proper system of measurement across the irrigation system down to the farm is required. The Senate committee ordered such a telemetry system to be installed. The Irsa bureaucracy needs to focus its attention on these solutions rather than constantly ask for more dams. And the senators should brush aside any demands for more water withdrawal infrastructure, and insist on sound measurements as a start.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2020



The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter January 19, 2020

KARACHI: Renowned political economist Dr Kaiser Bengali on Saturday contested the Punjab Irsa member’s claim that water flows into the sea were causing an annual loss of $29 billion and dismissed the claim that “coming generations would die of hunger” as irresponsible sensational.

In a statement, Dr Bengali, who is the author of a book titled Political Economy of Water, accused the “water lobby” of trying to play God and restructure nature. Nature, he said, had created a balanced system where rivers flow into the sea and keep the latter from intruding inland.

“However, restriction of river Indus water flow over the last 100 years on account of construction of barrages and dams has caused 56 kilometres of land to be consumed by the sea,” he said. “A whole union council of arable land is now under the sea and tens of thousands of families have lost their livelihoods and are now environmental refugees. This is the economic and human cost that Thatta and Badin districts of Sindh have borne and should form part of any cost calculation.”

Dr Bengali said that dams did not produce water; they only stored available water and with 40 per cent of irrigation water failing to reach plant roots, every Rs100 spent on creating storage would mean Rs40 down the drain.

“The solution to Pakistan’s water crisis is not to create more storage for erratic water availability, but to use available water more efficiently; which requires investment in water conservation technology: a shift away from flood irrigation to technologies like drip irrigation. It also requires a shift towards more water-efficient cropping patterns,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020



Our Correspondent January 19, 2020

GHALLANAI: The tribal elders on Saturday asked the government to pay compensation to the affectees of the Mohmand Dam.

The people of Essakhel, Burhankhel and Utmankhel led by Member Provincial Assembly Nisar Mohmand staged protest in Spery Mulaguri.

The elders including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf president Naveed Khan, general secretary Qari Rahim Shah, Mushtaq Khan, Malik Etebar Gul, Arif Khan, Farhad Ali were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, they said that the boundary of the Mohmand district be acknowledged according to the letter circulated in 1951 stating that the Mohmand tribe had been living in the area for the last 700 years.

They said that the people of Mian tribe had occupied their properties without any documentary proof, adding, they could not tolerate their illegal occupation.

They said that they had provided land at cheaper rates for the construction of the Mohmand Dam with a hope of getting job opportunities for their young ones.

They said that the water and power authority, and district administration had not yet honoured the promises made with them.

“The government has already furnished the amount to the deputy commissioner to pay to the landowners but don’t know why the district administration is still silent over the issue,” MPA Nisar Mohmand said.




Hasan Mansoor January 06, 2020

KARACHI: Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Sunday said the authorities concerned would revamp the water supply from the Hub source under a public-private partnership project to ensure that 100 million gallons per day (mgd) of water reach the teeming provincial capital.

“The city should receive 100mgd water from the Hub source, which has not been possible most of the time due to variety of reasons, which included dry seasons and technical reasons. We are going to make sure that the city gets water to full capacity,” said the LG minister after presiding over a meeting at his office.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said supplying water to the needs of the city was a key priority of the Sindh government for which various strategies had been planned.

“The water supply and all other components related to the Hub source’s link with the city are going to be revamped as per our planning in which the Public Private Partnership Unit would play a key role,” said Mr Shah.

LG secretary Roshan Shaikh, managing director of the KWSB Asadullah Khan, KWSB chief engineer Zafar Palijo, director general of the PPP Unit Khalid Shaikh and several other senior officials attended the meeting.

Officials directed to set up a technical committee headed by the KWSB MD

Minister Shah directed the officials to set up a technical committee headed by the MD of KWSB with some other KWSB officials and two members from the PPP Unit as its members.

The committee would examine all aspects involving the water supply from Hub Dam and submit its recommendations to the LG minister.

The meeting participants were informed that the system linked to the Hub Dam had got gravely damaged and worn out, which cost a great deal to the deficient water supply from there to the city, particularly Karachi’s neighbourhoods in its western and central districts, which mainly rely on the source in the area separating Sindh with Balochistan.

The broken system costs at least half of the water supply, conceded by the officials in the meeting who said that not more than 50mgd water could reach the city in a normal day because of it. The rest of 50mgd water gets wasted, they added.

“This is the main reason behind water scarcity in the areas, which are hooked up to the Hub source,” said an official.

The participants in the meeting agreed that revamping the whole system that carried water from Hub to Karachi was the only solution to reduce water scarcity in the city.

They also discussed other issues relating to the performance of the KWSB, which included uninterrupted pumping of water to the city. Shifting the KWSB’s pumping system to a reliable solar system was debated upon.

“We examined various aspects of converting the KWSB’s system to solar power system and have decided to study it further before taking a policy decision,” said Minister Nasir Shah.

He said the meeting participants also discussed various water supply schemes across the province.

Besides, alternative sources of water were explored and installation of plants to treat water for Karachi and the rest of Sindh was also discussed threadbare.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2020



By FAHAD SOOMRO Published: January 6, 2020

VANCOUVER: It is evident that the government has a paralysis of thought when it is pressed to solve a problem that involves a time frame that would outlast its tenure. It is not only the present government as it stands true for most of the governments that are at the helm of affairs.

They choose to respond with solutions that can be achieved within their tenure so that they can claim accolades and validate their claim for the next round of political and electoral process.

In the curious case of Pakistan, where the government suffers from financial as well as intellectual impoverishment, there are three effective key directional steps that need to be undertaken post-haste.

These include development of a comprehensive water policy, digitisation of water discharge data and strategic partnerships and foreign investment in agriculture.

The three major crops being cultivated consistently over the past four decades in Pakistan and which have forever been touted as the backbone of the agricultural economy are rice, cotton and sugarcane.

The global average of water supply for cultivating a kilogramme of sugarcane is 1,500-2,000 litres, for rice it is 2,400-3,400 litres and for cotton a staggering 10,000 litres.

With the debate on the actual price of irrigation water and its consumption reigniting, and rightly so, and with climatic emergency and ever-plummeting water flows in the Indus River writ large, is the cultivation of such crops feasible?

Another aspect that also points out an anomaly is the inequitable distribution that has arguably resulted due to the canal-based irrigation system. It pits the lower riparian against the upper riparian, urban against the rural and on a national level it has created discord and contention amongst provinces.

Until over a decade ago, the settlers continued to colonise agricultural land in southern Sindh. It was a policy that was effective as water was abundantly available and, simultaneously, the wetland and local ecology was undervalued.

The belt in question was considered suitable for sugarcane plantation and a huge investment was made under this pretext. Subsidised loans were provided for growing the crop, the political leadership misused the policy and set up sugar mills.

Consequently, the uni-dimensional policy created a large population over time that became increasingly dependent on this crop for their livelihood. But as water inflows have reduced and political expediency has taken over judicious water distribution, sugarcane is no longer a viable crop.

Of the dozen sugar mills that were set up, only three remain operational in the south. And, with the price of sugarcane remaining consistently lower, a greater number of growers are switching to rice (paddy). This is creating additional demand in peak months of the Kharif season as paddy is cultivated by the flood irrigation method.

This is perhaps the most daunting of the three steps. The government is required to build consensus amongst provinces that environmental change is imminent and a unified policy needs to be formulated and adopted.

This policy document should be the Magna Carta for water consumption. Anything less will not meet the objectives in the face of such overwhelming odds.

It would require each of the province to fundamentally isolate water efficiency per person, industry, crop and service. It would also need to ascertain the dollar value that would be generated through the consumption of fresh water, setting aside water that is necessary for human consumption.

For instance, a human consumes between 300 and 400 litres of water every day. Additional fresh water that is being used would need to be justified in real measurable economic terms.

There are certain aspects that cannot be measured such as the downstream release of fresh water required to maintain mangrove population, or for that matter to stop sea intrusion.

Understanding the economic value of the freshwater resource, though symbolic, will provide a basis for its justifiable and efficient consumption and distribution.

The policy should also establish and provide clear pathways for investment in renewing this finite resource. It should also incentivise farmers and growers to adopt water-efficient technologies.

From the technological standpoint, recent scientific breakthroughs have enabled water recycling from sewage even for human consumption. Learning from our contentious past, we have though reluctantly adopted technological improvements.

Making this policy document inclusive and multi-dimensional will invite a necessary discourse, a discourse we must engage in for our very survival.

Given the pervasive digitisation and social media connectivity, the government should ensure dissemination of water discharge position to all the farmers.

Although it can be contested that the canal-based irrigation system ushered in food security and sovereignty, it has also laid the foundation for a continued discord among farming communities.

The political influence exerted on irrigation officials to ensure supply to the influential landlords adds to the problem, denying the tail-end growers their due share.

The availability of the discharge information to the farmers, especially the marginalised ones, will prevent them from incurring expenses that can result from nursery and seed failure that occurs due to sudden unavailability.

The official information would also enable the farmers to seek their rightful share in the irrigation system.

In the longer run, such a platform can also be employed to extend other valuable information on crop seasonality and for the education of growers with regards to new and efficient farming methods.

The last most crucial step that the government ought to consider is to grant permission to foreign entities to make investments and acquire land on lease in the agriculture sector.

It is a highly contentious topic and this idea has been reviled to the point that it is not even discussed because it is considered inimical to the farming community.

To understand this argument, we must look at other areas and the abundant wealth of natural resources that we squandered spectacularly.

Let’s take the precious natural gas which has been burnt indiscriminately and well below its justifiable economic cost. Moving along, we have Reko Diq as another botched-up example.

If a framework that guarantees and protects the rights and interests of people and communities that are associated with agriculture is made kernel of the strategic partnerships and foreign investments, it will create greater economic output for Pakistan and will also lead towards water efficiency.

The writer is a Canada-based progressive agriculturist and former banker

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2020.



The Newspaper’s Correspondent January 07, 2020

KHAR: Jamaat-i-Islami MPA from Bajaur tribal district Sirajuddin Khan on Monday launched a drinking water project from own resources in own constituency, PK-102.

The launching ceremony was held in the hilly Zagai area, where tribal elders, Jamaat workers and residents showed up in large numbers.

The lawmaker said the project was meant to supply drinking water to all villages of the constituency.

He said as PK-102 lacked the supply of drinking water, he had planned to execute the project shortly after winning the July 2018 election but that didn’t happen for certain reasons.

Mr Sirajuddin claimed that the project would initially be executed in Mamond tehsil and it would be extended to Nawagai, Charming and Chamarkand tehsils afterwards.

He said the constituency was ignored in the past leaving the residents with basic facilities, so he had decided to spend 25 percent of his resources for the people’s development.

The JI MPA said he had also planned other development schemes from own resources as well for the constituency.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020



Dawn Report January 07, 2020

SUKKUR: All canals fed through the Sukkur Barrage were closed on Monday for annual cleaning. According to irrigation officials, the scheduled closure will remain in effect till January 15.

During the period, maintenance of installations and machinery would be undertaken along with the cleaning operation called bhal safai.

No water would flow into Rohri, Nara, Khairpur East, Khairpur West, Dadu, Rice and Khirthar canals until Jan 15, the officials said.

They acknowledged that the farming community and other users would face unavailability of water in channels during the period.

They said all users had already been advised to make some alternative arrangements to meet their requirement.

The officials said that gates of the canals would be painted to prevent them from getting rusted.

All repair works at the barrage and gates would be carried out and the riverbed would be desilted, they added.

Consumers in Sukkur and many other towns and villages surrounding it would be affec­ted by suspension of water supply. Irrigation and district adm­in­istration officials said on Mon­day that all related departments were informed of the scheduled canal closure well in advance with advice to ensure suitable alternative arrangements to ward off any trouble to consumers.

MIRPURKHAS: Nara Can­al started lowering its level on Monday following suspension of water supply from Sukkur Barrage under the scheduled annual closure for maintenance.

With the start of the closure, desilting, repairing and maintenance of canals and distributaries as well as lining work across the Nara command area was started.

Nara Canal area water board director Mansoor Ahmed Me­mon through local officials of the public health engineering and irrigation departments ensured filling of all water reservoirs to their full capacity for use during the closure period.

The reservoirs are being maintained by the board, engineers and staff concerned and, as such, water shortage in Nara’s command areas is not expected to turn acute, according to sources.

The area water board had recently taken drastic measures to stop water theft by removing suction pumps and illegal barricades/diversions from the routes of various canals.

A number of people were booked for resorting to stealing water through such practices.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020



By ​ Our Correspondent Published: January 7, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday approved six projects costing Rs216.4 billion, including four schemes that were being executed but their construction cost had jumped significantly due to ill-planning, scarcity of funds and flawed implementation strategies.

Headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the schemes put forth by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. Planning Minister Asad Umar also attended his first Ecnec meeting.

Ecnec approved an increase in the cost of Tarbela 4th Extension hydroelectric power project to Rs122.9 billion, up Rs40.5 billion or nearly 50% within four years of the project’s execution.

The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) is riddled with schemes that are facing years of delay. The factors contributing to the delay remain unaddressed, including a lack of fiscal resources.

Like its predecessor, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is approving new projects in meetings of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) too frequently, which has significantly increased the number of total outstanding approved projects.

The Tarbela 4th Extension project is aimed at increasing the project’s power generation capacity from 3,478 megawatts to 4,888MW by installing three units of 470MW each on the existing irrigation tunnel four. The World Bank is providing financing for the project. Ecnec also approved the Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation project at a cost of Rs15.52 billion, which had been revised upwards three times.

The government of Punjab and the International Fund for Agricultural Development are financiers of the project and the aim of the project is to contribute to poverty reduction in the southern Punjab region by improving living standards of people, boosting agricultural production and providing infrastructure such as water supply, irrigation, access roads, sanitation and drainage facilities to the population.

The project is expected to be completed by 2023. Ecnec was briefed that the main cause of the cost revision was the change in the exchange rate.

Ecnec also gave approval to the project of Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP), Islamabad at a total cost of Rs12.1 billion, including foreign loan of Rs7.72 billion to be provided by the World Bank.

The project has five components – nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors, supporting decentralised higher education institutes for improved teaching and learning, equipping students and higher education institutions with modern technology, higher education management information system and data-driven services and technical assistance.

The project is expected to raise the overall quality of higher education in the country with the use of IT services.

The Pakistan Multi-Mission Communication Satellite System (PakSat-MMI) project for the establishment of a geostationary communication satellite and its ground control stations inside Pakistan was approved by Ecnec at a total cost of Rs39.7 billion.

About 15% of the project cost will be financed through the federal PSDP and 85% will be a Chinese concessionary loan.

The project is aimed at helping increase mobile density, tele-density, broadband internet density, employment generation and quick-to-establish means of communication over a large geographical area stretching beyond national borders. The project will be completed in 44 months.

Ecnec approved the Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme (REDSIP) at a three-time upward revised cost of Rs12.8 billion, including foreign loan of Rs8.84 billion.

The project is sponsored by the government of Punjab with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The main objective of REDSIP is the construction of hydel projects ie Marala (7.64MW), Chianwali (5.38MW), Deg-Outfall (4.04MW) and Pakpattan (2.82MW) at canal falls of Punjab. The project also envisaged capacity building of the energy department, Punjab.

Ecnec approved a scheme at a cost of Rs13.4 billion to transmit power from projects at Jhimpir and Gharo wind clusters. The cost of this project was revised too.

Ecnec endorsed the report of a committee for the determination of tariff for PC-I-based public-sector power projects.

It was decided that in future all power projects, irrespective of fuel technology, and funded through the PSDP, should comply with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (Nepra) tariff regime by applying to Nepra for tariff determination at feasibility, EPC and COD stages, including the Balakot hydroelectric power project.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2020.



Kalbe Ali | Aamir Yasin Updated January 12, 2020

Officials from various departments involved in Rawal Dam’s affairs participate in a drive to clean up the lake on Saturday.

ISLAMABAD: Three stakeholders came together on Saturday to begin a joint drive to clean up Rawal Lake that will continue today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday).

The drive was launched by Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and the Punjab Irrigation Department. They removed four truckloads of garbage from the on the first day.

In August last year, the ICT and MCI had collected debris and other garbage from the shore and shallow waters of the lake to protect aquatic life and clean the environment.

There are several authorities involved in Rawal Dam’s affairs. Safeguarding aquatic and wildlife around the dam is the responsibility of the ICT administration, the land around the lake comes under the administrative control of the Capital Development Authority and MCI and a major portion of the water is the property of Punjab.

Keeping the lake clean has been a challenge because the departments involve shift responsibility on to the others, and there is no structured coordination in this regard.

Cleanliness drive by ICT, MCI and Punjab Irrigation Department to continue until tomorrow

The dam is maintained and operated by the Punjab Irrigation Department, but the major beneficiary of Rawal Lake is Rawalpindi’s Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), which is supplied 23 million gallons of water daily from the reservoir.

Another beneficiary is the ICT Fisheries department, which has the power to award fishing contracts.

An official from the Punjab Irrigation Department said: “70pc of the Rawal Lake catchment area is in Murree, which is in Punjab, and around 30pc of the catchment is in Islamabad territory.”

Water is supplied to the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) for its research farms according to the same ratio for agricultural purposes. The National Institute of Health and farmlands that mainly grow fodder for the Presidential Guards are situated close to the lake on Banigala Road.

An MCI official said that the municipal areas of Islamabad caused negligible pollution in the shape of solid waste or sewerage flowing into the lake, and it was therefore not their responsibility to clean the lake.

Sewerage and garbage flow into Rawal Lake from Murree tehsil and the Bhara Kahu area, and the Punjab Irrigation Department has complained that garbage should not flow in natural water courses.

The Bhara Kahu area falls in the jurisdiction of ICT, while the Rawalpindi Municipal Waste Company is responsible for collecting and disposing of garbage from Murree city. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for keeping a check on the quality of water in the lake.

The local administrations of the twin cities announced on Saturday that they would work together to frame a strategy to control the prices of essential food items and to work on the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative.

The decision was made during a joint meeting of the price control committee at the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner’s office held to discuss price controls and ways to remove the disparity in the prices of essential commodities between the twin cities.

Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Dogar and Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat chaired the meeting, which was attended by market committee, food department and union representatives.

Mr Shafqaat said that joint efforts were made to lift litter from the embankments of Rawal Lake, and such activities should be increased in the areas between the twin cities.

He said the prices of vegetables, fruit and other essential food items would be controlled at the I-11 fruit and vegetable market so traders would sell with minimal profits and people would be able to buy goods at reasonable prices.

Joint action was taken in and around Rawal Dam to remove illegal structures and solid waste, Mr Shafqaat added.

He said: “The Punjab Irrigation Department and its organisations, such as the Small Dams Organisation, need to be activated to control pollution in Rawal Lake. The Islamabad administration will provide support to all of them in this regard.”

Mr Dogar said the Rawalpindi administration would provide its support to joint efforts under the Clean and Green Pakistan programme.

He said the Rawalpindi and Islamabad administrations were working to keep prices of essential food items at the I-11 market low, and that they monitored the auction of fruits and vegetables so they are sold at reasonable prices.

Traders and other departments’ representatives were on board to keep prices stable in the market,

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2020




By Imran Adnan Published: December 30, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said around half of the population visits hospitals because of consumption of unsafe water and nearly 50% of deaths were caused owing to consumption of contaminated water.

He was speaking to the media persons at a function organised by a charity organisation Baitul Fazal on Sunday.

The Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority, with support of charity organisations and philanthropists, has announced it will install 25 new water filtration plants, besides making non-functional water filtration plants operational across Punjab.

The governor highlighted that Sarwar Foundation and Al-Khair Foundation had committed to installing 16 new water filtration plants. In addition, a renowned businessman Gohar Ejaz and his associates had committed to donating nine water filtration plants.

He said the installation of 25 new water filtration plants would be a good start because the availability of clean drinking water was one of the most critical issues in Pakistan. Ejaz and other business leaders had also committed to making 70 non-functional water filtration plants in Lahore operational on an immediate basis, he highlighted.

“Around half of the population visit hospitals owing to consumption of unsafe water. Nearly, 50% of deaths are being caused owing to unsafe water consumption,” the governor said.

“It is my passion to ensure the availability of clean drinking water to the masses. I assumed the charge of Punjab governor with an aim to ensure the availability of clean drinking water to the entire population of Punjab.”

Sarwar highlighted that the authority had been constituted and the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority’s district committees had been formed. The authority had also completed water mapping of the province to estimate the actual need for water filtration plants. The newly constituted authority had complete data of functional water filtration plants and water schemes. The authority would efficiently and effectively start working on provision of clean drinking water to people of Punjab from the year 2020.

He said the authority would give preference to the poor neighbourhoods for installing water filtration plants, where people had little purchasing power and cannot afford to buy filtered water for consumption.

“I am hopeful that the government would be able to ensure supply of clean drinking water across Punjab during the current term,” he maintained. Studies have blamed rapid population growth and mass urbanisation for deterioration of water quality across the country. The reports also revealed that only 20% of the whole population of Pakistan has access to safe drinking water.

The remaining 80% of the population was forced to use unsafe drinking water due to the scarcity of safe and healthy drinking water sources.

Studies have found out that the primary source of contamination was sewerage (faecal) which was extensively discharged into drinking water system supplies. The secondary source of pollution is the disposal of toxic chemicals from industrial effluents, pesticides and fertilisers from agriculture sources into the water bodies.

Anthropogenic activities cause waterborne diseases that constitute about 80% of all diseases and are responsible for 33% of the deaths. Studies underscore the immediate need for protective measures and treatment technologies to overcome the unhygienic condition of drinking water supplies in different areas of Pakistan.

A recent study pointed out that per capita water availability in Pakistan has dropped drastically during the last 50 years. Groundwater is the main source of water for drinking and industrial uses. This increased pressure on groundwater has lowered the water table in many cities. It is reported that the water table has dropped by more than thrice in many cities. This excessive use of groundwater has seriously affected the quality of water and increased the incidences of water-borne diseases many folds.

A recent water quality study has shown that out of 560,000 tube wells of Indus Basin, about 70% are pumping sodic water. This situation is being further aggravated due to changes in climate and rainfall patterns.

The study highlighted that the collected water samples were analysed for aesthetic, chemical and bacteriological parameters to determine their suitability for agricultural, domestic and industrial uses. The results of the study indicated serious contamination in many cities. Excessive levels of arsenic, fluoride and sodium have been detected in many cities.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2019.



By Editorial Published: December 30, 2019

The provision of safe drinking water to the masses has long been an important-and elusive- goal of successive Pakistani governments since independence. However, an alarming water quality report on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) by the Pakistan Council of Research and Water Resources (PCWR) says that clean drinking water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource in the province. The report says that the problem is so serious that nearly half of KP’s Union Councils have no choice but to consume contaminated drinking water which causes diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

There is little doubt that the current situation is a result of poor planning. For starters, the country’s rapid population growth has caused its per capita annual water availability to drop from 5,260 cubic metres 70 years ago to just 935 cubic metres today. It is further projected to go down to 500 cubic metres by the year 2040. It is imperative, therefore, that the government immediately formulates a comprehensive strategy to control population growth.

In addition, it is essential that the KP water infrastructure be updated. Although 300 kilometres of the province’s worn-out, rusty water pipelines have been replaced, another 300 kilometres of decrepit pipelines- which pose severe health risks to the provincial population- have yet to be converted to internationally recognized, modern plastic ones.

Furthermore, besides considering established methods such as canals and filtration plants, KP must also look into the latest technology to augment its water resources. These modern methods, which are both economical and productive, include Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS), Rainwater Harvesting and Lifestraw.

In short, the time for KP to act is now. Any delay in considering the above-mentioned methods could considerably worsen the situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2019.



Bureau Report December 31, 2019

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan ordered here on Monday immediate completion of all arrangements for initiating work on solarisation of 800 water supply schemes to be included in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs6.84 billion that will ensure saving of approximately Rs800 million annually in bills and Rs90 million in operation and maintenance costs along with benefitting 2.4 million people.

The chief minister stated that the initiative was meant to improve the quality of life and health of people through provision of clean drinking water at affordable cost on sustainable basis. He said that public health engineering department had already initiated solarisation projects with successful results. He added that 600 schemes were solarised so far.

Total saving from these schemes in terms of electricity bills is Rs600 million per annum along with saving of 18 megawatts electricity to the national grid.

The chief minister directed the officials concerned to accelerate progress on 260 megawatts Jamshil Torren More Project Chitral, 350 megawatts Torren More Kare Project Chitral, project regarding off-grid solutions for tribal districts, second phase of Swat Motorway and other proposed schemes to be included in CPEC.

Mahmood Khan says provision of clean drinking water to people is govt’s priority

He was presiding over a meeting regarding CPEC projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Adviser to Chief Minister for Energy and Power Hamayatullah Khan, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah, administrative secretaries of the departments concerned and other senior officials attended the meeting.

The meeting was informed that inclusion of 260 megawatts Jamshil Torren More Project and 350 megawatts Torren More Kare Project in CPEC was agreed upon in principle during the previous meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC in which it was agreed that the schemes would be evaluated by a panel of experts representing both the sides.

The meeting was informed that second phase of Swat Motorway was already been approved by PSDP while its inclusion in CPEC was also principally agreed upon in the previous meeting of JCC. Technical survey of Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway was also being carried out.

The chief minister was informed that solarisation of 800 existing water supply schemes was included in CPEC socio-economic grant. Revised PC-1 at estimated cost of Rs695.406 million for local component as non-ADP scheme has also been approved while hiring of consultants for the project is underway.

The chief minister stressed the need for expediting progress on the project, stating that provision of clean drinking water to people of the province was priority of the government.

The chief minister also called for a separate presentation on the new and ongoing mega schemes being executed by public health engineering department.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019



By APP Published: January 1, 2020

QUETTA: Quetta irrigation department official Xen Qurban Jatoi on Monday said construction work of four dams would be launched soon in order to overcome shortage of water in Quetta at a cost of Rs450 million for which tenders have been advertised in daily newspapers.

Talking to APP, he said dam was being constructed at Kachmore with a cost of Rs250 million providing benefits to farmers of the respective areas. Construction of other dams were in pipeline in Sara Ghargai and Akhtarabad at a cost of Rs200 million.

He said provincial government was focusing construction of dams in order to reduce deficiency of water in the area and improve ground level water in respective areas of Quetta. He added that government was working to award contracts on merit through advertisements in newspapers for ensuring timely completion of dams.

Jatoi added that no compromise would be made on standard of construction.

“Special directives have been issued to relevant officers to ensure high standard of construction in schemes so that funds of the project are not wasted,” he added.

The irrigation department official said Winder Dam would be constructed with cost of Rs15 billion under supervision of federal government. The dam would irrigate 10,000 acres of land in Winder and Lasbela district, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2020.



Mohammad Hussain Khan Updated January 02, 2020

HYDERABAD: About 60 per cent of the water being supplied currently to the city does not go through chlo­rination process of Wat­er and Sanitation Agency’s (Wasa) filtration plants as the civic body is in so deep a financial crisis that it cannot even pay salary to emp­loyees.

Sindh government, on the other hand, is yet to take a decision on how to ensure payment of accumulating water and sewerage charges of the provincial departments in Hyderabad. The lia­bilities of Wasa alone have risen to around Rs3.3bn alone.

Wasa issues bills for Rs471m annually to Hyder­abad-based provincial government departments wher­e­as the departments had a budgetary allocation of Rs125m per annum for the civic amenities, leaving a huge deficit in receivables.

Wasa being one of the important civic body of Hyderabad operates four major water filtration plants of the district that feed drinking water to three of its four fully urbanised talukas – City, Latifabad and Qasimabad that are fast witnessing mushrooming of malls, banquet halls, commercial plazas and residential housing schemes.

Around 66MGD filtered water is to be supplied from new and old filtration plants off located Jamshoro road and 8MGD each from Hala Naka and Paretabad filtration plants.

With rehabilitation measures taken on the directives of Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh, capacity of old filtration was increased from 10MGD to 20MGD and that of the new filter plant from 30MGD to 40MGD.