CCI discusses national water policy

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Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

The 36th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting discussed national water policy (NWP) in detailed. The meeting was briefed about the draft of the policy by Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission.
CCI was chaired by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi here at Prime Minister office on Tuesday which was attended by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister Balochistan Mr. Abdul Quddus Bizenjo attended the meeting. Punjab was represented by Minister Finance Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha. Chief Secretaries of all provinces and federal secretaries besides senior officials from Federal and Provincial Governments.
The meeting was emphasized that Pakistan is rapidly becoming a water-scarce country and obligations towards Sustainable Development Goals require adoption of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) said the press release issued by the PM office. It was also informed that population growth and water demands for various sectors of the economy necessitate urgent measures to enhance storage capacity.
The meeting was also informed that the draft NWP includes establishment of administrative bodies at the federal and provincial levels, including National Water Council, Provincial Water Authorities to improve coordination regarding water resource management
The CCI was briefed that the draft NWP includes strategic initiatives and is in line with National Climate Change Policy 2012.
“The entire participant agreed on the need to adopt the National Water Policy. It was decided that the proposed policy would be brought in the next CCI meeting after incorporating suggestions from provinces for its final approval”.
Over the years, the past governments of the country have been unsuccessful in providing their country with a formal water policy. This comes as a major setback since Pakistan is primarily a ‘National Water Policy is being discussed where the country is being faced problems of water scarcity, climate change, increased population demand for water and mismanagement of water for industrial and agricultural consumption. There have been many drafts that came into existence at the national and provincial levels. However, none have been approved as a policy.
The National Water Policy (NWP) draft was initially prepared in 2005 after a World Bank comprehensive policy study, however, once at the federal cabinet this draft could not see the light of day.
In 2010, the decision to revise the NWP was taken to incorporate the recent developments in the water sector and the growing impact of climate change on water resources. A joint committee was formed to finalize the water policy. Secretary, Statistics Division presented an update on CCI’s earlier decision of carrying out a validation exercise of Census results 2017. The meeting reiterated that 5% validation exercise shall be undertaken through a third party as per the decision taken in CCI’s meeting held on 24th November, 2017.
Finance Secretary gave a detailed briefing on various subsidies being given by the Federal Government on different commodities including subsidy being provided to PASSCO for maintaining strategic wheat reserves, subsidy on essential items through Utility Stores Corporation, Ramzan Relief Package and support for export of wheat and sugar. Pakistan Alliance for Mathematics and Science also gave a presentation on way forward for promoting science and mathematics education in the country.

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