Water committee to hold first meeting today

Published September 28, 2021
This file photo shows the Indus River at Kotri downstream almost without water.—INP
This file photo shows the Indus River at Kotri downstream almost without water.—INP

LAHORE: The maiden meeting of the Steering Committee on National Water Policy constituted back in 2018 will be held in Islamabad on Tuesday (today). It will be chaired by Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi.

The meeting was to be held on Friday (Sept 24), but had to be rescheduled due to unavailability of some members.

To be attended by secretaries of ministries of water resources, energy, planning and development, and finance, as well as the chairmen of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), National Disaster Management Authority and Engineering Council, the meeting will discuss salient features of the National Water Policy, including its draft implementation framework.

A memorandum of understanding for collaboration of the Ministry of Water Resources with relevant provincial departments to ensure effective implementation of the policy will also come under discussion.

The committee had been formed on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the first meeting of the National Water Council held on Oct 25, 2018 with the directions to submit within two weeks its recommendations on the proposals presented by the water ministry and Wapda representatives about future investments, particularly enhancing storage capacity, in the water sector.

The steering committee will also review progress on the agenda items of the Oct 25, 2018 meeting. These included preparation of groundwater regulatory framework, trans-boundary water issues, institutional arrangements and setting up of sub-working groups for finalising the water policy implementation framework.

Construction of Diamer-Basha and Mohmand dams, water issues pertaining to Sindh, allocation of 1,200 cusecs additional water to Karachi city (K-IV project), handing over of Rainee Canal and Darawat Dam from Wapda to the Sindh government, implementation status of Nai Gaj Dam and Right Bank Outfall Drain I, II and III, approval of kachhi canal command area’s PC-I, study of environmental flows for eastern rivers in Punjab, etc were also part of agenda of the last meeting.

Likewise, the proposals for increase in share of Gilgit-Baltistan and NFPP-IV from Rs4 billion to Rs6bn, enhancing GB’s share from one per cent to 6.56pc in the flood protection programme, and integrated watershed management in the upland catchments of Azad Jammu and Kashmir will also be reviewed.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

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