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Pakistan’s first-ever national water policy approved unanimously

by TR Pakistan

The Council of Common Interest (CCI) in its 37th meeting held at the Prime Minister’s (PM) Office in Islamabad on Tuesday unanimously approved the first ever National Water Policy (NWP) of Pakistan.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and attended by the chief ministers of all fours provinces, as well as federal ministers and senior officials. Sartaj Aziz, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, briefed the CCI on the draft of the policy.

The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) has reported that Aziz informed the council that the policy was prepared after consultation with all major stakeholders. He said a national-level consultative seminar was also held to reach a consensus. Proposals presented in the 36th CCI meeting were also incorporated in the policy.

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Further, Aziz briefed the CCI about the salient features of the NWP, including water uses and allocation of priorities, integrated planning for development and use of water resources, environmental integrity of the Basin, impact of climate change, trans-boundary water sharing, irrigated and rain-fed agriculture, drinking water and sanitation, hydropower, industry, groundwater, water rights and obligations, sustainable water infrastructure, water related hazards, quality management, awareness and research, conservation measures, legal framework and capacity building of water sector institutions.

The council was told that the implementation of the NWP would be undertaken through a national-level body namely “National Water Council” (NWC) to be chaired by the PM and comprising  as members federal ministers for Water Resources, Finance, Power, and Planning and Development as well as all provincial chief ministers.

While the NWC shall oversee the implementation of NWP, a steering committee, headed by the federal minister for water resources will monitor the implementation, with representatives from federal and provincial governments.

During the meeting, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa presented a brief on implementation of Kazi Committee Methodology (KCM) for calculation of Net Hydel Profits (NHP). After detailed deliberations, the CCI directed the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, Planning Commission of Pakistan and Ministry of Water Resources to reconcile the claims in consultation with the provinces and re-submit the issue for decision in the next CCI meeting.

Later, the Prime Minister along with four Chief Ministers signed the “Pakistan Water Charter” pledging commitment to the National Water Policy.