Hisaar Foundation – a foundation, for water, food and livelihood security- and secretariat host, Cap-Net Pakistan has recently launched the “Recommendations for Pakistan’s National Water Policy Framework” for the consideration of the government. The water policy framework has been launched in Karachi, Sindh and Lahore, Punjab. This is as part of an ambitious agenda set forth by Hisaar Foundation to launch the water policy framework in all the provinces of Pakistan and culminating in a grand launch at Islamabad, the federal capital of Pakistan. Water management in Pakistan is a provincial issue so it is fitting that the policy framework is launched in each of the provinces.
The launch event at Karachi was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Journalism at the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA) on Tuesday 20th December, 2016. The launch event in Lahore was conducted in collaboration with the Water Informatics and Technology Center at the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (WIT-LUMS) on Wednesday 28th December, 2016. Both these launch events had distinguished and highly reputed speakers and panelists from the government, industry, business sector, civil society, academia and media sectors.
The launch was a culmination of two years of consultations, including discussion sessions with various water stakeholders across the spectrum, as well as two international water conferences that focused on water cooperation and water security. The recommendations are part of the first report of Hisaar Foundation’s Think Tank on Rational Use of Water.
The recommendations focus on five main areas for further action. These include improving water access for the poor and landless, financing the urban and rural water value chain, safeguarding the Indus Basin and its infrastructure, improving water institutions and their management and governance, and finally building a base for science, technology, and social aspects of water.
The goals of the recommendations for Pakistan’s national water policy framework call for extending irrigation system to arid districts of Pakistan. It also calls for creating new storages and enhancing existing storages at different levels. The policy framework calls for improvement in water efficiency by 10 percent. It also calls for increasing productivity in agriculture. The policy framework recommends preserving, repairing and maintaining the existing water infrastructure. It also calls for a reversal in abiyana to realise the true value of water. The policy framework calls for control in groundwater withdrawals as well as generation of additional indigenous hydropower. The recommendations also call for increased coordination between water, agriculture, and industry for maximum benefits. Finally, it calls for making investment in water infrastructure and hydropower a core part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.