The Commission recommends that groundwater be conserved in KP. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water Resources Commission has emphasized the need for groundwater conservation, as the region is primarily reliant on groundwater for its water supply.
The commission, established under the National Water Policy to ensure the protection, preservation, and proper management of the province’s water resources, held its inaugural meeting here on Wednesday, with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan serving as chairperson.
The commission’s first meeting took place on August 23, which happened to be World Water Week, which runs from August 23 to August 27 this year. Among those present were province ministers Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Mohibullah Khan, Kamran Bangash, Chief Secretary Dr. Kazim Niaz, and other senior government officials and authorities. It stated in a statement that the meeting was briefed on the execution of the KP Water Act by 2020 and other matters about water conservation during the session.
A report to the meeting stated that while the province had been allotted 8.7 million acres feet of water under the Water Accord (1991), it was only using 5.97 million acres feet (MAF) annually, with 2.81 million acres feet going unutilized due to a lack of infrastructure, poor planning, and inefficiencies within the department in question.
The gathering was also informed that the province needed to protect its water resources investments, particularly in the western river basins, and that this was a top priority. The chief minister chairs the commission, which the KP Water Act, 2020 established. The panel has 21 members and is headed by the chief minister.
The commission will be responsible for all policy decisions relating to the conservation, re-distribution, and enhancement of water resources in the province, allocating water resources for different purposes and ensuring that water resources are used appropriately. The commission will convene at least once every six months, with the possibility of meeting more frequently.
They informed the gathering that the KP Water Regulatory Authority was established to carry out the commission’s policy decisions and govern all things about water resources in Punjab. The Water Regulatory Authority will also serve as a working group of the Commission on Policy Development to form policies.
As part of its integrated water resource management plan, the province administration has also considered the social, economic, environmental, and technical aspects of water resource management. In a similar vein, the Rivers Protection Act was passed to protect water resources and prevent the pollution of rivers.
On behalf of the Department of Water Resources, it informed that the framing of several bylaws and regulations under the Water Act, 2020 was currently underway, and that had made necessary amendments to the rules of business of all the departments concerned to identify and assign responsibilities to the relevant entities to improve and streamline the management of water resources.
The participants in the conference were given an overview of the current water situation in the province, climate change, the role of water resources in socio-economic development, and other topics relevant to the water commission, among other things.
According to the chief minister, the creation of the commission was a significant victory for the government. Moreover, he stated that the commission would serve as a watershed moment in preserving water resources by the National Water Policy.
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