Lawmakers warn for depleting water resources, ask for action

Ijaz Kakakhel

A legislative body of Upper House of Parliament on Thursday expressed serious concern over continues depleting underground water resources and no proper steps were taken to increase the availability of water across the country.

Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources regretted that water related projects were delayed for decades which result severe water shortfall both for dinking and agriculture purposes.

The projects were planned and constructed in thousands 60’s were deliberately not completed and now the national exchequer has to pay billions of rupees for its construction.

The senators warned that future wars would be water related therefore, they stressed for taking appropriate measures to improve the situation.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was held under the chairmanship of Senator Musadik Masood Malik here at the Parliament House.

Consideration of the starred question regarding details/table of underground water level in every district of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last ten years and ascertainment of decrease in water level in the whole country and the steps taken by the Government to cope up with the issue ‘raised by Senator Fida Muhammad in the Senate sitting held on 13th July 2021 were taken up in detail.

At the outset of the meeting, the Chairman Committee showed resentment on the late provision of the working papers from the Ministry and said that it has been requested time and again to the Ministry to send the working papers 4 to 5 days prior to the meeting so that a detailed study can be done on the agenda.

Senator Musadik Masood Malik showed great concern over no development in the water sector over the years.

He said that after the 18th Amendment water sector was devolved to the provinces however the Federal Government is here to fully support the solutions of the hurdles coming in the way of development within its constitutional parameters.

The Chairman Committee while inquiring on the data of the underground water level of all the provinces showed great surprise that how come the water sector is running without having any information on the groundwater data. “Half of the water of Pakistan comes from Gilgit Baltistan but no survey so far has been taken place”.

The chairman committee raised a question on the strength of Human Resource of the water department to which the officials replied that there are 108 staff members, the chairman committee also inquired about the total budget of water department of Gilgit Baltistan to which the committee was informed that four billion rupees for a project and a budget of Rs280m have been allocated for the water sector.

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