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WB recommends Pak local-scale management of groundwater resources

ISLAMBAD: The World Bank recommended Pakistan to establish provincial-level regulatory frameworks for a better management of groundwater access.

According to a recent report titled ‘Pakistan: Getting More from Water’, published by the bank said that the capacity of provincial water resources management departments should be strengthened for groundwater management and conjunctive planning.

The WB also recommended strengthening water user associations for local-scale monitoring and management of groundwater resources.

The report said conjunctive use can improve climate resilience by using the storage capacity of aquifers and it can improve equity of water access, water use efficiency, and water productivity.

The report further said that water security in Pakistan was undermined by poor water resource management and poor water service delivery, including irrigation and drainage services and domestic water supply and sanitation services. In addition, some growing, long-term water-related risks were notadequately recognized and are poorly mitigated.

Read More: Lahore High Court hears plea seeking security of ground water

Water resource management is compromised by (i) poor water data, information, and analysis; (ii) weak processes for water resources planning and allocation; (iii) environmentally unsustainable levels of water withdrawal; (iv) widespread pollution; and (v) low water productivity in agriculture.

Pakistan needs continued investment in flood protection infrastructure. The country has made moderate progress in flood mitigation, given the significant damage and disruptions from floods over the last 50 years; however, climate change will increase the risk of flood damage, meaning greater investment is required.

Flood infrastructure should be complemented with “soft” measures such as floodplain zoning, improved flood forecasting, and early warnings. Large storage reservoirs can help improve some aspects of water security but do not address the most pressing water security issues. New reservoirs would deliver relatively modest additional yield, and the water supply benefits would not justify the significant financial costs

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