Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Meeting between PIDA and JICA Delegation on PISIP

The close cooperation and technical assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will help to improve and strengthen the irrigation system in Punjab which is the backbone of the country because of its importance in providing canal water for crops.
This was stated by General Manager Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) Syed Zahid Ali while talking to a JICA delegation headed by Miss Mitsurokayama. Other members of the delegation included Aamir Bokhari, Mr. Kuzono and the consultants of the projects. The objective of the meeting was to review the Punjab Irrigation System improvement project launched in collaboration with JICA.
While giving a brief of irrigation sector reforms, the GM PIDA said that area water boards have been constituted on 6 main canal commands besides, setting up Khal-Panchayts and Farmer Organizations. The Farmer Organizations have started their second tenure in the lower chanab canal (east) while in the western circle, FOs have completed their first tenure and election arraignments are in process for the second phase.
The PIDA GM further informed that comprehensive programme was being implemented for the training of FOs. 20 out of 100 in LCC (East), 44 out of 103 in Bahawalnagar canal circle and 22 out of 116 training programmes in Dera Jaat circle have been completed. Besides this, laser land leveling and bed and furrow as well as sprinkling system for the conservation of irrigation water has been introduced in Bahawalnagar, Faisalabad and D.G Khan, concluded the GM PIDA Syed Zahid Ali.  

General Manager (OP) PIDA Spoke on Desertification Day

The General Manager (Op) PIDA Ch. Karamat Ali participated in the program of Radio Pakistan Lahore Center to celeberate the Waorld Desertification Day and expressed his views regarding the upcoming water scarcity and its adverse impacts on the country. The Program, broadcasted on June 17, 2011 was recorded in Punjabi language to apprise the rural community about the efforts of the governement to cope with the desertification.  

Monday, 20 June 2011

Revamping of PIDA Website

PIDA has decided to revamp its website with the cooperation of Punjab Information Technology Board. During the first meeting, the layout of the home page was discussed and necessary ammendments in the existing page were decided. The instructions to field staff of PIDA  also have been issued to collect the latest information at earliest. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

42nd PIDA Authority Meeting

The Punjab Irrigation & Drainage Authority has decided to extend the duration of Farmers Organizations from three to five years to help improve their performance and enable them to effectively manage the canal system.  It was decided in 42nd PIDA Authority meeting held on 25.05.2011 chaired by Minister Irrigation Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh.
Besides many others, the meeting was attended by the Managing Director Malik Rab Nawaz, General Manager (TM), Syed Zahid Ali, General Manager (OP) Ch. Karamat Ali, General Manager (Finanace) Asif Sohail, Farmer Members Rana Abdul Rahman, Javed Hasan Gujjar, Rana Mubasher Iqbal, Ali Haidar Noor Khan Niazi, the representatives of Finance, P&D and Agriculture Departments.
The meeting decided that the audit of farmer organizations would be completed during their tenure and approved the seed money amounting to Rs. 125,000 for the FOs of Bahawalanagar Area Water Board to meet the operation and maintenance needs of irrigation channels. The Authority also decided to appoint the Registrar at PIDA and AWB level.
The meeting referred the issue of special deputation allowance of officers working in PIDA on deputation and the communication allowance of officers of BPS 17/18 to sub-committee.  It was also decided to frame the auction rules of PIDA for the disposal of obsolete items. The meeting favored that the sub-committee constituted for making necessary amendments in PIDA tendering system may submit its recommendations in the next meeting.   

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Implementation of Water Conservation Strategy in Pakistan-Options & Possibilities

By: Engineer Syed Zahid Ali
Pakistan is lucky to be endowed with the endless bounties of Almighty Allah and water is one of them. The rivers coming from the high peaks of Karakaram and Himalayan hills are a major source of providing sufficient quantity of water for continuously running the irrigation system which is proudly claimed to be the world’s most contiguous system of its kind serving the human being for more than hundred years.
The irrigation infrastructure of Pakistan is the backbone of agriculture sector as it is providing water for 22 million hector area for aricultural purposes. Water is as much important for Pakistan as oil is for Gulf countries. Out of this 22 million hector area, around 19 million hectors are irrigated through canal water while the rest of the area is irrigated through other resources like rain water.
Agriculture sector has the main say in the GDP with a total share of 25% while 50% of the labor class ekes out its livelihood from the agriculture sector. However, it is all the more important to note that continuous flow of water is required so that agriculture sector could yield desired results. Keeping in view this objective, Punjab Government has deputed Irrigation & Power Department to initiate suitable strategy so that the water needs of farmers, especially at tail ends, could be fully met. The experiences and research in irrigation sector in Punjab shows that the water needs of farmers are increasing. The institutional reforms process requires further impetus and comprehensive overhauling and restructuring to cope with the rising water needs.
This has resulted in the setting up of the vital institution of Punjab Irrigation & Drainage Authority (PIDA). It is important to note that this institution is unique in the sense that it has encouraged the farmers to take part in the decision making process of irrigation management. This initiative, although new in the sub continent, is quite popular in the other developing countries like Turkey, Mexico, India and Philippine. Meanwhile, developed countries like Japan, USA, Australia and some other countries have also initiated this participatory irrigation management approach to enhance agro-productivity as well as to minimize the non-development costs on irrigation system. This philosophy is helpful to realize the farmers that they are equal partners in maintaining the irrigation infrastructure in public interest.
Pakistan is blessed with a rich monsoon season which usually occurs during the months of July to September. As 70% monsoon rains during these three months, it is therefore all the more important that this rain water should be stored in properly built reservoirs which could later on provide water to the farmers according to their demands. However, the lack of adequate infrastructure of water reservoirs results in loss of 30 to 40% river water every year. This very critical situation requires very drastic steps including availability of water at tail ends, minimizing the loss of canal water and to involve the farming community in repair and maintenance of water channels. This could only be done through adopting the institutional reforms approach with a facility for the farmers to include their proposals in the improvement of service delivery. PIDA has helped to achieve these goals.
A close view of PIDA shows that it could be a successful model of public private partnership provided it is well maintained and well managed. The Punjab Irrigation Department, in the meantime, has launched different mega projects to improve and upgrade the existing infrastructure with the cooperation of international development agencies. In this perspective, Japan International Cooperation Agency has provided Rs. 17,804 million for the rehabilitation of Lower Chenab Canal System, the Asian Development Bank has contributed Rs. 17,178 million for the improvement of Lower Bari Doab Canal System while the World Bank has provided Rs. 8,000 million for the restructuring of Jinnah Barrage and Islam Head Works. Likewise, the Asian Development Bank has also agreed to provide $ 650 million for the completion of ongoing irrigation improvement projects in Punjab. The Punjab Government also has launched a project to introduce the water saving techniques on three different sites to improve the irrigation supply at farm level with the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency.  
It is important to highlight that Pakistani Irrigation system was sufficient for 60% irrigation intensity way back in 1947, while today, this intensity has reached to 130%. During the last 64 years, China and India have built up 55 and 64 new dams respectively while Pakistan could built only two dams in the meantime, and the storage capacity of both the dams has decreased to 30% due to storage of silt.  
It is worthy to note that Pakistan Government has launched different programs which included raising of Mangla Dam, construction of Gomal Zem Dam, Greater Thal Canal, Raini Canal, Kachchi Canal, Mirani Dam, Sat Blera Dam, Subkzai Dam and many other small level projects which will be helpful in providing water for 32,39,882 acres of land.
According to a recent WAPDA report, 5 million acre feet water could be saved by lining of water courses while 3.5 million acre feet would be saved through improvement of water courses. This necessitates the need of encouraging equitable and efficient use of water by farming community. Media and Public Forum Bodies should also play an active role in this agenda of improving irrigation infrastructure to provide water for agriculture needs.
While Pakistan is facing acute shortage of water as a result of blatent violations of the Indus Water Treaty by India through building  of 64  low and high dams on all the six rivers and their tributaries which has exceeded the allowable storage limit of 4.19 Million Acre Feet fixed in the treaty. Pakistan has failed to take necessary steps to store and utilize its water asset for farming. Indian dams have created 10 MAF of dead storage and 25-30 MAF of live storage, thus depriving Pakistan of its water rights for Rabi and Kharif crops. US Senator John Kerry has openly stated that Pakistan and India could go to war on the issue of water. As Punjab is situated next to India, therefore, it is the evident victim of Indian water aggression against Pakistan. Moreover it is the major crop producer of the whole country and any loss of water share will have a direct impact on Agriculture in Punjab. This very serious situation requires prudent handling of the issue by our policy makers.  It is proposed by the hydraulic experts that Katzarah dam near Skardu should be built as it would enhance the expected life of downstream dams and barrages including Terbela and Diamer/Bhasha dams. Similarly Guroh Dop dam on Panjkora river near Chitral will store 7-8 MAF water every year.
The IPD has taken up the matter and it is working to use the available water on sustainable basis. It is expected that construction of Kala Bagh Dam would help to resolve the water scarcity issue largely. We need to understand that water is life and no nation can survive without provision of sustainable system of water.
It is suggested that the Government of Pakistan should adopt a holistic approach to implement the water conservation strategy by involving all the federating units in which the farming community should be convinced to adopt the latest water saving technologies including immediate construction of major water reservoirs.