National strategy for Pakistan

Pakistan has approved its first ever national water policy including the complete reorganization of institutions and the formation of a permanent National Water Council (NWC) to take decisions on water issues and inter-provincial conflicts.

Minister for Power & Water Liaqat Ali Jatoi said, at the meeting in November, that although water was increasingly scarce in Pakistan, the country could have enough water by 2025, if proper conservation measures were taken.

The policy would ensure sustainable use of water with due consideration to the environment, quality of life, ability to pay and participation of all stakeholders. It would enhance provincial consensus on the development of water resources and help establish water allocation priorities.

The key policy recommendations are provision of safe drinking water, additional storage for year-round crops and to offset drought years, prevention of saline intrusion into groundwater, development of comprehensive water regulations and exploitation of cheap hydropower potential.

Mr Jatoi said such a policy should have been made long ago, but previous governments had ignored the water sector. He said Pakistan needs a ‘blue revolution’ to improve water availability, crucial to the country’s agriculture based economy.

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