Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday chaired a meeting on draft National Water Policy at Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad.
Federal Minister for Interior and Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, concerned federal secretaries and senior officials were present during the meeting.
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Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz briefed the meeting on the proposed National Water Policy which has been drafted for the purpose of putting in place a policy framework for ensuring effective management and conservation of existing water resources, improving availability, reliability, and quality of fresh water to meet critical municipal, agricultural, energy and food security needs besides addressing the environmental concerns.
The draft policy addresses critical issues of reduction in wastage of water, enhancement of water storage capacity from 14 MAF to at least 28 MAF through a network of small, medium and large-sized storage reservoirs, increasing efficiency of water use by producing more crop per drop, gradual replacement and refurbishing of irrigation infrastructure and setting up of realistic and achievable targets in consultation with the provinces.
The prime minister appreciated the efforts of deputy planning commission and his team for formulating the much-needed policy framework for effective conservation, utilization and management of existing water resources.
Stressing upon the need for putting in placing a robust framework, PM Abbasi observed freshwater is a finite resource which is progressively becoming scarce.
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He further said there was an urgent need to take effective measures at provincial as well as federal level for not only ensuring optimum utilization but also for conservation and scientific management of the water resources in order to cater to future needs of a growing population of the country.
PM Abbasi directed that the draft policy must be shared with the provinces for their consideration and early finalization. He later emphasized that buy-in from the provincial government was essential and therefore directed deputy chairman planning commission to engage the provincial governments for their consensus before bringing the matter before the Council of Common Interests.