Pakistan to have National Water Policy

KARACHI: The Ministry of Water Resources was poised to unveil first National Water Policy in the 70-year history of Pakistan, the spokesman of the ministry revealed here on Saturday.

The Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Jawed Ali Shah is scheduled to announce the policy on March 22 in Islamabad on the occasion of World Water Day.

The salient features of the 1st National Water Policy would also include emphasis on water conservation, water storage, water apportionment, under-soil water quality. The policy would also give extreme importance on building of new dams for water storage and equitable water distribution among the provinces.

With Pakistan facing hardship in improving water governance and taking measures to save rapidly-depleting water resources, climate change coupled with rapid urbanisation and population growth would further impact the availability of water, making it one of the most water-stressed countries of the world.

According to the data released by the World Resources Institute (WRI), which defines water stress as the ratio between total water withdrawals and available renewable surface water at a sub-catchment level, Pakistan is predicted to be the most water stressed country in the region by the year 2040.

The report, which scores every country on the scale of zero to five, with the higher number representing the most water-stressed, stated by 2040 Pakistan would be 23rd most water-stressed country in the world with an average score of 4.48, unless it changes its ways and works on water conservation.