Pakistan needs integrated approach to tackle water shortage, says ADB

Published May 3, 2022
The completion of the new Khanki Barrage project has vastly improved water and flood control, connectivity and access to essential social services. — ADB
The completion of the new Khanki Barrage project has vastly improved water and flood control, connectivity and access to essential social services. — ADB

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank has suggested to Pakistan that holistic governance across sectors is required to address the growing competition for water and to manage the effects of pollution, wastewater, floods, droughts and land degradation at present and in the future.

Appropriate policies must be put in place to promote integrated management and development, ADB says in a case study on the completion of the new Khanki Barrage project, which it termed as a ‘driver of change’ replacing an old barrage with advanced technology vastly improved water and flood control, connectivity and access to essential social services, ADB says.

The case study, released this week, says projects, such as the New Khanki Barrage that have proven to be successful can serve as models to guide development partners in designing future irrigation projects.

Future irrigation projects will also need to be informed by solutions to water-related problems in several sectors, particularly agriculture. To make infrastructure investments more inclusive, complementary investments in areas, such as education, finance and health will need to be promoted, and are in line with ADB’s multi-sector approach to ensure that interventions systematically address the key multidimensional features of food security

An irrigation department study had indicated a very high chance that a major flood could damage the Khanki Headworks and breach its embankments, causing significant loss of lives and damage to property, including crops and livestock.

Realising the danger, the Punjab government decided to replace the Khanki Headworks with a new barrage to ensure safe passage of a 100-year-return flood event, sustainable delivery of irrigation water in the command area, and the safety of people and livestock.

Climate change considerations also influenced the decision as the 2020 Global Climate Risk Index ranked Pakistan fifth among the countries most affected by climate change.

ADB provided $270 million loan to Pakistan for the construction of new Khanki Barrage on River Chenab at 275m downstream of the old Khanki Headworks.

Published in Dawn,May 3rd, 2022

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