ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda has said that the Meteorological Department has predicted above average rainfall in the northern areas of the country during the current year.
“The government has ensured complete overhaul of flood telemetry stations which will be fully operational in upper river catchments to improve flood forecasting and reaction time,” said the water resources minister while addressing a meeting of the Federal Flood Commission on Friday.
Agencies working on flood prevention measures were in attendance.
The federal minister said the Indus commissioner was in liaison with the Indian commissioner to obtain on a daily basis flood discharge data related to the eastern rivers. “The government believes in cooperative spirit for implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty and expects the same from India,” said Vawda.
In this regard, the federal minister hoped that the Indian government would maintain the past practice of sharing flood information with Pakistan to save precious lives from the likely menace of flood.
The federal minister directed the provincial irrigation departments to ensure removal of all encroachments from the riverbeds and floodplains.
“The federal government has already facilitated the provinces by providing a Model River Act for enactment,” said Vawda. “At the federal level, Pakistan Meteorological Department has made its Flood Forecasting Division, Lahore functional which is disseminating daily weather and flood situation and forecasts to all the federal, provincial and district-level stakeholders through its website.”
The meeting was informed that the federal government approved 13 flood protection schemes for all the four provinces during last year.
To manage the floods during the current monsoon season, Vawda urged the provincial governments to legislate for stopping encroachments in the floodplains.
To facilitate provision of river discharges, reservoirs data and flood-related information to higher government offices, a dedicated flood communication cell has also been made functional in the Federal Flood Commission.
Vawda said being the apex flood management agency, the Federal Flood Commission was fully geared and operational to oversee all mandated responsibilities.
According to the Met Department, this year there were chances of extreme weather events and hence high to very high floods might be experienced besides urban flooding for which utmost and foolproof inter-agency and inter-provincial coordination needed to be ensured as a top-most priority, the the minister concluded