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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives (MoPDSI) emphasised on implementation of the high-efficiency irrigation system with state-of-the-art technologies for the development of the agriculture sector.

The caretaker Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Muhammad Sami Saeed, on Thursday, chaired a meeting to review progress on the water resource sector and the implementation status of the National Water Policy, 2018.

The meeting was attended by member infrastructure, chief water resources and other relevant stakeholders.

During the meeting, a comprehensive briefing was given to the minister over the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS), availability of water in the system, total sectoral water demand and challenges faced by the system due to sedimentation, population growth, poor water management, groundwater recharge, climate change and inefficient utilization of water resources. In addition, salient features of National Water Policy 2018, strategic priorities and national targets set for 2030 were also discussed in detail.

During the meeting, the planning minister stressed on implementation of the High Efficiency Irrigation System with state-of-the-art technologies.

He was informed that the IBIS of Pakistan is the fourth-largest irrigation network system in the world. About 20.2 million hectares of land is cultivated through annual flows of 138.4 MAF in Pakistan. Pakistan has 6,668 glaciers more than any country, anywhere on earth. Groundwater contribution is about 50 MAF. The agriculture sector is the major user of available water, 94 per cent of irrigation water is utilised by the agriculture sector, whereas, domestic and industrial uses are 5.2 and 0.8 percent.

Furthermore, the chair was informed that in order to cope with the challenges of water resources and climate threats, the first-ever National Water Policy was developed and approved by the Council for Common Interest (CCI) in 2018.

The strategic priorities of the policy are Conservation and Efficiency, Storages, Renewable Energy, IWRM and Regulatory Frameworks. It was informed that out of six planning principles of policy, the key principle is “Equity and participatory decision-making; Water sector activities shall be participatory and consultative at each level and decisions will be taken by consensus.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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