Pakistan’s Sindh, Punjab Provinces Allocate Hundreds of Millions for Water, Sanitation, Irrigation

16 Jun 2014 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab provincial governments have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for water supply, sanitation and irrigation in their annual budgets for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1st.

The Sindh provincial government announced last week that it is allocating nearly $88 million USD for irrigation and drainage projects, with a focus on improving existing irrigation and drainage networks and restoring flood protection embankments on the Indus River.

Another $31 million USD is being earmarked to upgrade Keenjhar Lake, which provides 80 percent of the water used to meet drinking and industrial water needs in the city of Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said during his budget speech on June 13th.

He said $3.1 million USD would be spent for restoration and rehabilitation of the Left Bank Outfall Drain, which facilitates the passage of stormwater out to sea, and the Kotri Drainage Network System in the Kotri district.

Last, $76 million USD has been earmarked in the budget to install 750 reverse osmosis water treatment plants in the southern Tharparker district, and to install 1,050 solar-powered reverse osmosis water treatment plants throughout the province.

During his budget speech, delivered the same day,Punjab Chief Minister Mujtaba Shuja Rehman said $518.16 million USD had been set aside for irrigation projects in his province, including construction and rehabilitation of barrages, canals, water channels, and small reservoirs.

The vast irrigation system in Punjab province, which irrigates 8.4 million hectare, is facing major challenges. The amount of water lost and wasted has increased significantly due to improper care over the past several years.

“However, adequate allocations of funds will help improve the irrigation network, and consequently water losses or wastages,” Rehman told OOSKAnews by phone after his speech.

“In addition, we have earmarked $173.5 million USD for different water, sanitation, sewerage and drainage water management projects, which also includes $51 million USD that would be spent for provision of clean and safe drinking water to the people of the province,” he added.