KARACHI: The Rs30.353 billion Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP), with Rs28.840bn World Bank financing, has streamlined the irrigation system in the province after rehabilitation of canals and distributaries.

According to the details provided by the provincial Planning and Development (P&D) Department, the project would be completed in 2018. It aims to modernise irrigation and drainage system in a systematic way to deal with floods and drainage issues of the province.

The project areas includes jurisdiction of Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) and three area water boards of Ghotki Feeder, Nara Canal and Left Bank Canal which form 30 per cent of the total irrigated area of the province.

The project also involves preparation of detailed feasibility studies for Guddu and Sukkur Barrages for their safe operation.

Major works completed within the closing period of Feb 28, 2015, with quality and satisfaction of the farmers’ communities, has received the British Construction Industry Award.

The World Bank has rated the project as one of the good and model projects in South Asia.

Chief Economist of Sindh, Dr Fateh Maree claimed it was the first time in the history of development projects that the process of procurement of civil works and goods as well as recruitment of project staff was entrusted to a professional team of the UN agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In addition, Transparency International Pakistan has been involved in the process of procurement to ensure transparency in all stages of procurement, he added.

Talking about the results of the project, Dr Fateh said the conveyance efficiency of irrigation system in the project area increased from 66pc to 71pc due to rehabilitation of canals and distributaries which roughly equals to 0.80 MAF of water saving from the irrigation system losses.

Reliability of water supply has increased from 42pc to 53pc as per the indent indicating substantial increase of 11pc.

Out of 612,300 water courses the project has benefitted 390,000 water users stretched in an area of 1.17m hectares.

He further said the increase in cropping intensities has benefitted medium and large size farmers in raising their income level than small size farmers having land holding of 5 acres.

He admitted though the income level of rural household has not improved, there was however improvement in some welfare indicators. In project area, pacca houses have increased from 40pc to 50pc.

There was significant impact on employment opportunities in the project area with the deployment of temporary workers during the implementation period with an estimated monitory value of Rs1,145,196m.

In addition, the construction of washing ghats (places) has had a positive impact on village women who now get cleaner clothes in a safe and convenient manner.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2016