Water Crisis

Listen to the article

Current situation

Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has alerted that the country will reach absolute water scarcity by the year 2025. According to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Sources, a combination of climatic changes with unrelenting demand from overpopulation and overdevelopment is contributing to the worsening water situation in Pakistan. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report has stated that Pakistan is on its way to become the most water-stressed country in the region, by the year 2040.  Agricultural irrigation consumes around 95 percent of the nation’s freshwater resources. Export of water-intensive crop like rice and cotton, are putting increasing pressure on the country’s already stressed water resources while limited water storage capacity means that Pakistan is ill-prepared to deal with the shortage of water.

According to the National Water Policy 2018, glacial melt contributes 41 percent to Pakistan’s river flows followed by rainfall (27 percent) and snowmelt (22 percent). But due to global warming, the timings of has been erratic, and cannot be relied upon as a stable freshwater source.

One solution is the lining of canals and the optimal use of water for agriculture. Pakistan should increase the groundwater recharge for urban and rural areas under legal framework as ground water depletion will lead to the severe droughts. Laser levelling, drip irrigation and sprinklers can help to minimize water wastage at farm level.


1. Ministry of water will be formed. Farmers will be taught new ways of preserving water like sprinkle system. Canal lining will be formed.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the crucial need to train farmers on water conservation.

2. We will improve and ensure implementation of our master water plan for each province and the national water policy.

3.We will launch an aggressive public awareness campaign on the “Need for water conservation” and against “The mismanagement of water”

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the media campaigns for public awareness to conserve water.

5.We will build small dams across Pakistan to conserve water and fulfil local demand and will expedite construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam and will speed up feasibility studies for other dams.

6. We will reduce share of non-revenue generating water, crackdown on overabstraction and commit to recharging our aquifer

7.We will aggressively expand our rainwater catchment capacity in urban and rural areas.

8. We will increase and sustain the national spending on water and sanitation.

9.We will provide resources and support to local government bodies to provide filtration plants through a public-private-partnership model.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the focus of government on the conservation of water.


We will build small dams across Pakistan to conserve water and fulfil local demand and will expedite construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam and will speed up feasibility studies for other dams.

12 September 2018

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) received qualification bids from five joint ventures led by the international companies for the construction of main reservoir and structures of the 4,500MW Diamer Basha Dam. Wapda has decided to establish its own consultant group that would assist in the completion of the work at a fast pace. Basha dam will have water storage capacity of 8.1 million-acre feet (MAF) and add more than 18 billion units of low-cost electricity to the national grid per annum. It aims at overcoming water storage and achieving flood mitigation and power generation targets.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the development of infrastructure to conserve water.

18 September 2018

The National Assembly passed a resolution for the construction of new dams in the country. The PML-N and PPP supported the dam initiative.  According to Khawaja Asif, the dam will be completed in nine years. However, if the process is speed up, it will be completed in the next five to six years.

23 September 2018

The preparations for the construction of two small dams in Rawalpindi district have started. He Chahan Dam will be built near Rajgarh village lying on Chakri Road. The other will be constructed at Dadhocha. The Chahan Dan will provide six million gallons of water to 250,000 to the residents daily.

15 October 2018

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has asked the executive engineer of the Small Dams Organization to submit complete details on the stalled Chirah Dam project as soon as possible. The Chirah Dam project is a joint venture by the Punjab government and the CDA. The dam is to be built on the Soan River near Chirah village, with a capacity to supply the twin cities with 15 million of water a day.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the functioning of Ministry of water resources and federal water management cell of ministry of foods.

23 October 2018

The rovincial deputy director of small dams Mohammad Zubair inaugurated work on the Munchora water reservoir in Agror and Tanawal areas of Oghi tehsil. The owners of the houses to be submerged by the dam water would be paid for built-up property’s prices along with trees and other goods.

31 October 2018

The PM Imran Khan has ordered the Ministry of National Food Security & Research to develop three major projects for conservation of water through lining of the watercourse across the country and laser leveling of the fields. The project ‘National Program for improvement of Watercourses in Pakistan Phase-II’, would be undertaken across the country with a target of lining of over 73,000 watercourses and laser leveling of 12,110 units. It was decided that the government will subsidize laser-levelers for all the provinces with emphasis on Sindh.

7 November 2018

According to district director of soil conservation department, Mohammad Yasin Wazir said that about 100 small dams can be constructed across the three tehsils of Karak district from the oil and gas royalty funds to resolve the acute water shortage problem.

12 November 2018

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is looking to formulate a policy to construct 19 dams, including Kalabagh Dam, in order to enhance the storage capacity to 30 million-acre feet (MAF). These projects included Diamer Bhasha Dam with a storage capacity of 6.4MAF, Mohmand Dam with 0.676MAF, Kurram Tangi Dam 0.90MAF and Nai Gaj Dam with water storage capacity of 0.16MAF.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the implementation of master water plan for each province and national water policy.

19 November 2018

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar embark on a week trip to Great Britain to raise funds for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams.

24 November 2018

The Punjab cabinet formed a committee to examine the proposal for constructing a dam on the Ling river in Rawalpindi district. The Supreme Court has reportedly directed the government to consider building the Dadhocha Dam on Ling river close to Sihala for the provision of water to the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It has a capacity of 35 million gallons of water.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the effective utilization of available water.

26 November 2018

PM Imran Khan directed the Ministry of Water Resources and Planning Division to coordinate with provincial governments and formulate a comprehensive plan for undertaking urban water schemes for all major cities to overcome water scarcity. He also directed that the water supply scheme for Rawalpindi and Islamabad should be started immediately by the Punjab and federal governments. Discussing the obstacles in the construction of the dams, the PM directed that the issue of acquisition of land and settlement with the land owners of the dam should be resolved on a priority basis.

12 January 2018

The funds for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams so far received are over Rs9 billion. According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the countrywide contribution is around Rs8 billion while the remaining one billion rupees were contributed by overseas Pakistanis. The cost of Mohmand dam is around $14 billion are required for construction of the dam.

22 January 2018

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Jean-Francois Cautaian and IUCN Country Representative Mahmood Akhtar Cheema called on Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Mr. Malik Amin Aslam. Masala briefed the delegation about ‘Recharge Pakistan Project,’ which aims at raising the under-water table by conserving flood water in the right and left bank of Indus River reservoirs, that water could be utilized for domestic as well as horticulture purposes. Mr. Cautaian informed that the EU will finance €40 million water conservation project in Balochistan. The project will increase water reservoirs, program for community awareness in utilizing minimum water, using alternative methods in irrigation and farming and promoting live stock investment.

1 February 2019

The Punjab government has planned to establish small dams with the help of water management and field wing in developing areas across the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in north Punjab. The leveling of at least 150,000 acres of land was continuing in Chakwal, Jelum, Rawalpindi and other areas for the construction of small dams to ensure water distribution in the areas under the Irrigation Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP).

4 February 2019

The Implementation Committee on Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD), constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, reviewed progress of the projects and expressed satisfaction.

The PTI government is going to start civil work on Mohmand Dam in March 2019 while the work on Diamer Basha will start in May. Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda)/ CDBMD Chairman Lt Gen (R) Muzammil Hussain presided over a meeting to review the progress. It was informed in the meeting that the procedure for procurement of civil and electro-mechanical works for Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project is continuing in accordance with Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) provisions.

10 February 2019

According to Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), there is enough water in the Rawal and Khanpur dams to meet the city’s water requirements until September. There is currently 1,750.5 feet of water in Rawal Dam and 1,954ft of water in Khanpur Dam. Wasa has made a comprehensive plan to deal with water shortage in twin cities and to improve the city’s water distribution system and for that it has finished replacing old and rusting water lines. New connections are being provided to consumers, which will reduce the chances of contaminated water. It has also sought Rs 25 million for the cleaning for Leh Nullah in Rawalpindi.

4 March 2019

The Supreme Court (SC) ordered immediate construction of Nai Gaj dam in Sindh. The SC directed the federal and provincial governments to ensure timely provision of funds to the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

11 March 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Diamer-Bhasha dam fund has hit Rs10 billion and he paid tribute to the generosity of the people. The estimated amount required for construction of two dams is Rs1,700bn, of which Rs1,450bn will be spent on the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam and Rs300bn on the Mohmand dam.

Syed Talat Hussain shares his stance on dam funds project by PTI government.

25 March 2019

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has formed a committee to address issues related to Dassu dam. The people whose land was acquired for the 4,300 megawatts Dassu Hydropower Project wanted the committee to ensure payments and resumption of work on the dam.

26 March 2019

Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has given the contract for civil and electro-mechanical works of Mohmand Dam Project to a joint venture (JV), comprising the China Gezhouba Group of Companies (CGGC) of China as the lead firm and Descon of Pakistan as its partner. WAPDA has been able to successfully restore Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project after a prolonged delay, removing the legal, financial and technical glitches. The project is scheduled to be completed in five years and eight months and it would generate 800 megawatts (MW) of low-cost hydel electricity.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the need to work on rain catchment to preserve water.

29 March 2019

The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) is planning to set up model rain harvesting wells for mosques and private houses to overcome water shortage in Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Chairman Arif Abbasi said that they will install two rain harvesting wells at the Wasa offices and a small mosque in Liaquat Bagh to encourage the citizens to adopt the practice on their premises. He said that RDA wanted to make it compulsory for private houses to install rain harvesting wells and in this regard its board would approve a policy next month.

Muhammad Tahir Anwar, Director General, Federal Water Management Cell, talks about the need to add water conservation as part of the academic curriculum.