PM directs for comprehensive planning to address water issues in major cities


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday directed the ministry of water resources and planning division to coordinate with the provincial governments and formulate a comprehensive plan, with delineated timelines, for undertaking urban water schemes for all major cities on a priority basis.

The prime minister also directed that water supply scheme for Rawalpindi and Islamabad should be started immediately by Punjab government and the federal government, respectively.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was chairing a meeting on ministry of water resources at Prime Minister’s Office. Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiyar, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Advisor to PM Malik Amin Aslam Khan, secretaries of water resources, economic affairs division, food security & research, WAPDA chairman and senior officers were present during the meeting.

The premier was briefed in detail about the overall situation regarding the availability of water in the country, situation of storage of water and the issues being faced towards ensuring water security for a growing population of the country.

PM Khan was informed that the current water storage capacity of around 13.7MAF was far below the international standards and needed to be enhanced on a priority basis. It was also informed that there was an urgent need to check unregulated abstraction of ground water which has resulted into fast depletion of aquifers.

The prime minister directed that a comprehensive plan along with a legislative framework should be worked out for ensuring maximum utilisation of the surface water and reversing the existing trend of unabated pumping of groundwater.

The prime minister was also briefed about the progress on various development projects and construction of small, medium and large dams.

Discussing the obstacles in construction of Dasu Dam, the prime minister directed that the issue of acquisition of land and settlement with the affectees of the dam should be resolved on a priority basis in consultation with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and taking legitimate demands of the affectees into account.

PM Khan emphasised that the Land Acquisition Act 1984 needs to be revisited in order to make it more relevant with the present time.  He underscored the need for an integrated planning and enhanced coordination between relevant departments i.e. WADPA, ministry of water resources, ministry of energy, planning division and other stakeholders while planning and execution of major projects of national importance.

The premier also directed that a comprehensive plan should be formulated to promote off-grid solutions including harnessing of solar and wind potential of the country.