ISLAMABAD: The federal and provincial governments must sign pacts on the sharing of data on the water situation in the country, aimed at resolving the differences between the federating units on water availability, water losses and other water-related disputes, knowledgeable sources said Business recorder.
This issue was discussed at a recent meeting of the National Water Policy Steering Committee (NWP-SC), chaired by the Minister of Water Resources, Moonis Elahi.
Deputy Secretary (Water), M / o Water Resources briefed the SC on the issue of sharing data between federal and provincial ministries on the water situation in the country.
He said that at the first meeting of the NWP-SC held on September 28, 2021, the Committee approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding between M / o Water Resources and the provincial liaison units. He added that it was also decided that M / o Water Resources will prepare and disseminate a draft MoU among all concerned organizations for their input. However, as contributions from all relevant organizations on the NWP-IF have not yet been received, the MoU could not be finalized.
Co-Secretary (Water), M / o Water Resources, Mehar Ali Shah stressed the importance of signing an agreement for data sharing. He claimed that the concerned organizations did not share the progress / data with M / o Water Resources, in particular with regard to the progress made so far against the targets set under Numerical Weather Prediction. . He added that without the provincial data, monitoring the progress of the implementation of the national water policy would not be possible.
Raising the point of view of the Joint Secretary (Water), the Chief Engineering Advisor / Chairman of the Federal Flood Commission said establishing a data center for sharing data regarding the country’s water resources was one of the main requirements of the national water policy and the memorandum of understanding. between the provinces and the federal government regarding data sharing was urgently needed.
Water policy: Moonis underlines the criticality of the implementation
The Chief Engineer, Irrigation Deptt Punjab suggested that a specific model for data collection be developed on which stakeholders can provide the specific required information, and the database / portal once developed, should also be accessible. to all relevant organizations so that the data can be updated accordingly, periodically. The Committee decided that the Ministry of Water Resources would form a committee composed of members of the ministry and the provinces to prepare the draft MoU. The draft MoU will be submitted to the next NWP-SC meeting for further discussion.
The Committee also discussed the update on the finalization of the Implementation Framework (CI) of the National Water Policy (PNT).
The Deputy Secretary (Water), Ministry of Water Resources informed the forum that at the first meeting of the NWP-SC held on September 28, 2021, it was decided that the Ministry of Water Resources will disseminate the draft implementation framework. implementation of the National Water Policy (NWP-IF) among all relevant organizations / departments to solicit their views / comments, on the basis of which, the amended NWP-IF will be submitted to the next (second) meeting of the NWP-SC for final deliberation and further approval by the National Water Council (NWC). He added that the draft PTN-IF had been circulated among the 28 organizations involved on October 6, 2021. However, until December 27, 2021, only 11 organizations had submitted their response.
The secretary of water resources said that the most relevant organizations for the implementation of the national water policy are the irrigation departments of four provinces. Instead, a consolidated response from each province should be communicated through the respective Additional Chief Secretary (ACS). He urged the remaining 17 organizations to share their respective contributions within a week. It was suggested by the secretary of water resources that instead of transmitting the individual responses from the departments of irrigation, public health engineering and agriculture, the three provincial departments should sit together under the overall aegis of the respective provincial planning and development department and provide a consolidated response approved by their respective additional chief secretaries. The meeting accepted the suggestion.
After detailed discussion, the following decisions were taken: (i) all provinces / federal entities will share their consolidated views / comments on the NWP-IE within one week, which after extensive deliberation during the next meeting of the NWP-SC, will be presented to the National Water Council for approval; (ii) each province’s ACS will provide a consolidated provincial response on the draft implementation framework within one week; and (iii) all provinces will share their respective nominations with reference to the selection of five private sector members for numerical weather prediction as well as their detailed CVs with the Ministry of Water Resources in the week. Once all applications have been received, the Ministry of Water Resources will share the names with the CEA / CFFC Bureau for evaluation and shortlist 5 private sector members to the NWP Steering Committee for review and recommendation to the NWÇ for approval.
Regarding the allocation of 1200 cusecs (650.50 MGD) of additional water for Karachi (Project K-IV), the Joint Secretary (Water), M / o Water Resources took note of the decision of the ICC of September 24 2018 in which the ICC recognized the problem of water scarcity in Karachi City and decided to refer the Sindh government’s request to the NWC for consideration at its next meeting. He added that the aim was to develop recommendations taking into account the current water supply situation and identify anti-water theft and conservation measures in addition to others to ensure availability. of 1200 cusecs (650.5 MGD) of additional water for the city of Karachi.
He further informed that at the 1st meeting of the NWP-SC, the matter had been discussed and that it had been decided that the matter did not deserve to be considered by the NWC as the K-IV project had been launched. He added that in order to develop recommendations and measures to ensure an additional water supply of 1,200 cusecs for Karachi, in accordance with the decision of the ICC, a committee comprising representatives of M / o Water Resources, secretaries of the four provincial irrigation departments, members of IRSA and MD Karachi Water & Sewerage Board be formed to identify water theft and conservation measures to ensure the water supply of Karachi City. After detailed discussion, it was decided that the Ministry of Water Resources would inform the committee headed by the Joint Secretary (Water) and comprising the secretaries of the provincial irrigation departments as well as members of IRSA and the council of Karachi Water and Sewer Authority. The committee will submit its findings to the NWP Steering Committee within one month.
Regarding the allocation of 614 cusecs of water from the Mangla reservoir to AJ&K (488 cusecs for irrigation (+ 126 cusecs for consumption), the steering committee decided that AJ & K would share its request for the allocation of 614 cusecs from the reservoir. Mangla with the Ministry of Water Resources to take other necessary action.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021