Ahsan Iqbal digging deep for water

  • Development minister says National Water Policy in the offing soon
  • Pakistan Water Summit 2014 highlights themes including groundwater sustainability, trans-boundary waters, water-food-energy nexus and innovative financing for water infrastructure among others

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Thursday that the government was taking strong measures to avoid water crisis in the country.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recreated Ministry of Planning and Development with a view not to repeat past mistakes in terms of water and this summit was a step towards evolving National Water Policy which would soon be announced by the government”, the federal minister said while addressing Pakistan Water Summit 2014.

Federal Minister for National Food and Agriculture Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada and other officials were also present on the occasion. He said the summit comprises of 14 themes and the experts would present their opinions on these themes.

The 14 themes of the summit include groundwater sustainability, trans-boundary waters, understanding water security and impacts on national security, water-food-energy nexus, innovative financing for water infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, water technologies for 21st century, climate change impacts on water availability(droughts, floods, glaciers), research and education for water secure future, industrial effluent, water infrastructure, development reforms, system efficiency for urban utilities, agriculture water productivity.

The minister said that during the last 14 years we failed to plan our energy as a result we faced serious energy crisis. He said due to energy crisis agriculture, population, economy and society was badly suffering.

“But we cannot afford water crisis because energy has many substitutes but water has no substitute and water crisis would mean a complete disaster”, Ahsan Iqbal added.

The minister stressed the need for making water as a source of social harmony not only with the neighbouring country but also among the provinces.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatimi said on the occasion that water is critical to welfare of people of South Asia, therefore cooperation in water among the regional countries and among the provinces of the country is very necessary. He said that through cordial relations with the neighbouring countries, water can become a source of cooperation instead of a bone of contention.

Tariq Fatemi said that the government believes that water is an issue that needs to be discussed in result oriented manner. He said the present government has demonstrated that peaceful and cordial relations with neighbours said currently the country has no water storage arrangements and there is dire need of building small and big water reservoirs to avoid water crisis in the country.

Planning and Development Secretary Hassan Nawaz Tarar said that water was not only an economic issue but it was also a political and social issue for the people of the country.

Other stakeholders and experts from across the country presented their opinions for devising a policy to cope with the future threat of water crisis in the country.