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March 20, 2019

Pakistan may face ‘super flood’ this monsoon


March 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan could face a ‘super flooding’ this coming monsoon, as the heavy snowfall in the northern regions and unpredictable climatic changes could aggravate the situation, the government officials forewarned the government on Tuesday in a parliamentary panel.

There are chances of heavy floods, so we should invest more in it, to save the human and financial losses. Joint Secretary Ministry of Water Resources Mohammad Mehr Ali Shah said that in first six decades Pakistan suffered $19 billion due to floods. While since 2010 we have faced the same amount of [$19 billion] losses. Federal Flood Commissioner Ahmed Kamal also told the committee that there are very high chances of floods this monsoon, while it could be also super floods, while keeping in view the fast climate changes and heavy snowfall on the northern areas.

Kamal said for this purpose the government should be more vigilant and also provide funding in advance to cope with the issue. “It is to be given priority.” We have asked the government for Rs15 billion in next PSDP 2019/20, official said.

Join secretary said that in 2017, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had given approval to National Water Policy and its PC-I is with the Planning and Development Division, but so far no reply has been received on it. This policy plans investment of $27 billion from 2018-2030.

We [the ministry] recommend to the government to enhance allocation of PSDP funds for water sector from existing 9.6 percent of PSDP to 20 percent of total development outlay. Interestingly, currently it is 9.6 pc of PSDP and is due to two mega dams’ allocation including Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams, otherwise it would have be 3 to 4 pc. In 2017/18, it was 3.2 pc.

He said on Wednesday (today) the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet is also taking up the issue of Net Hydel Profit (NHP) of the AJ&K, in which it demanded for giving it the same treatment what the Punjab and KP has been given. He added that under the Article 161 of the Constitution, its NHP is provided to provinces and the AJK is already getting water use charges, so might be it gets the same with high rates and at par with the provinces [they are getting 1.10 to 1.15/unit].

Around 90-95 per cent of Pakistan’s water is being used for irrigation; 50 per cent of which is lost during canal diversion.

According to the National Water Policy until 2030, 33 per cent of water should be conserved. National Water Council was established to achieve this goal. The panel was headed by the Prime Minister and included Chief Ministers of the four provinces, Prime Minister Azad Kashmir and Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan. Some ministers and secretaries were also part of the team. As a result of detailed deliberations it was suggested that water distribution systems around the country be developed.

Ground water resource regulation is also needed, as there are 1.3 million tube wells pumping water unregulated. There is need of an integrated water management and revamping of barrages need investment.

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