ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday directed Ministry of Water Resources and Planning Division to coordinate with provincial governments and formulate a comprehensive plan with delineated timelines for undertaking urban water schemes for all major cities on a priority basis.
He also directed that water supply scheme for Rawalpindi and Islamabad by the Punjab and the federal governments, respectively, should be started immediately.
The Prime Minister was chairing a briefing on Ministry of Water Resources at Prime Minister’s Office, PM office Media Wing in a press release said.
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, chairman WAPDA and senior officers were present during the meeting.
The Prime Minister 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.
Imran Khan 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 in ensuring water security for a growing population of the country.
The Prime Minister was informed that the current water storage capacity of around 13.7 million acre-feet (maf) was far below the international standards and needed to be enhanced on the priority basis.
He was also informed that there was an urgent need to check unregulated extraction of groundwater which had resulted in fast depletion of aquifers.
The Prime Minister directed that a comprehensive plan along with a legislative framework should be worked out for ensuring maximum utilization of the surface water and reversing the existing trend of unabated pumping of groundwater.
He was also briefed about the progress on various development projects and construction of small, medium and large dams.
Discussing the obstacles in the construction of Dasu dam, the Prime Minister directed that the issue of acquisition of land and settlement with the affectees of Dasu dam should be resolved on a priority basis in consultation with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and taking into account legitimate demands of the affectees.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the Land Acquisition Act 1984 needed revisiting in order to make it more relevant with the present time.
He also directed that a comprehensive plan should be formulated to promote off-grid solutions including harnessing of solar and wind potential of the country.