Pakistan approves its first national water policy

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, center, along with four Chief Ministers signed the “Pakistan Water Charter” pledging commitment to the National Water Policy. (Photo courtesy: PID)
Updated 26 April 2018

Pakistan approves its first national water policy

  • The implementation of National Water Policy (NWP) will be undertaken through a national level body
  • NWP includes the water uses and allocation of priorities and a board framework about country water needs

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s four provincial chief ministers unanimously approved the country’s first National Water Policy (NWP) this week at a Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting this week.

The agreement was reached as the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the 37th CCI meeting at Prime Minister’s Office on April 24.

The policy was drawn up following consultation with all major stakeholders and a national level consultative seminar was also held to reach a consensus.

Chief Minister Punjab Mohammed Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo attended the meeting along with federal ministers and senior officials.

Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan Sartaj Aziz briefed the CCI on draft National Water Policy (NWP) of Pakistan.

NWP includes the water uses and allocation of priorities, integrated planning for development and use of water resources, environmental integrity of the basin, impact of climate change, transboundary water sharing, irrigated and rain-fed agriculture, drinking water and sanitation, hydropower, industry, ground water, water rights and obligations, sustainable water infrastructure, water-related hazards, quality management, awareness and research, conservation measures, legal framework and capacity building of water sector institutions.

The PM’s office said: “The CCI was briefed that implementation of NWP will be undertaken through the National Water Council (NWC) to be chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising of federal ministers for water resources, finance, power, planning development and reforms with all provincial Chief Ministers as members.

“The NWC shall oversee the implementation of NWP and a steering committee, headed by the federal minister for water resources, will monitor the implementation with representatives from federal and provincial governments and concerned departments,” Prime Minister Office said in statement.

More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 24 April 2019

More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

  • Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday
  • The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.