Policy Analysis: Improving Governance and Water Management in Pakistan


It’s monsoon time again! Now we can enjoy sitting on our balcony with tea or coffee, watching puppies play in the streets, cloud-studded skies with dancing birds, and feeling happy cool breezes. The monsoon always comes with many blessings for people to rejoice and enjoy nature’s wonders.

Besides, the monsoon season also brings difficulties for people, especially those living in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan, problems that come along with the monsoon sometimes overpower the blessings. Not going so far, last year in 2022, Pakistan was hit by a devastating flood and suffered a great deal, especially in housing, agriculture, food, livestock, fisheries, transport, and communications.

This blog post will explore the crucial topic of governance and water management in Pakistan. As a country facing numerous challenges in both areas, it is vital to understand the significance of effective governance and sustainable water resource management. This blog explores potential policy solutions that can lead to better administration and water management for the nation’s prosperity, so we can equally enjoy the blessings of rain.

Understanding the Current Situation

Overview of Pakistan’s Governance Structure and Political Landscape

The governance structure in Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary system, where the Prime Minister serves as head of the existing government and the President as head of state. After independence, Pakistan has faced many challenges in establishing a strong, stable, and transparent government. The main issue behind this problem is that our leaders prioritize their personal motives over national goals. Whenever a strong and well-established party comes into power, it is overruled with the help of secret agencies working against Pakistan’s stability.

Besides inefficient and unstable governance, Pakistan always has third-party interference due to its strategic and solid location. This interference has always caused Pakistan significant damage and hindered its efforts to stand on its strong feet. Whoever tries to bring stability to Pakistan has to face the rage of those superpowers who never want Pakistan to decide its fate via strong and independent domestic and foreign policies. They have created a strong network of two-party leadership through which they have blessed Pakistan’s most corrupt business lords and made them our rulers.

Apparently Pakistan has a democratic system, but in reality, it is being governed by a corrupt and tyrannical system where power belongs to two families, and they devise policies that will keep the nation running in a circle with no ending point. They have involved people in never-ending problems of inflation and high taxation, so they never raise their heads against the wrong policies and governance systems and keep them busy fighting their way to exist in difficult situations.

Not going so far, in the election of 2018, Pakistan was blessed with a Government that was striving hard to take the country out of those polluted ditches and to create its independent and strong existence via the creation of a Muslim Bloc for the strong representation of Muslims against Islamophobia and international cruelties that are taking place in Syria, Palestine, Sudan, Bosnia, and independent foreign policy to work solely for the betterment of Pakistan without getting involved in international matters and wars.

Like previous times, again, this government that was working solely for the interests of Pakistan and has broken the strong ties of foreign-funded two-party leadership is overthrown due to a foreign conspiracy, and its leaders are still suffering the rage of international powers.

The instability in the governance system has never allowed Pakistan to focus on the core matters of the state. In this blog, we will continue with poor water management in Pakistan.

Being an agricultural country with a core dependence on the agricultural yield for its GDP, good water management is a matter of life and death. In the past, in the era of Independence, the British Raj blessed India biasedly with Muslim-majority areas and left some regions controversial, which India took over soon after independence. One of the controversial or disputed territories includes Kashmir. Pakistan has five major rivers, and all of them come from India. For Pakistan, water is the source of its existence, which is directly under the control of India. Although the issue of water distribution was solved as a result of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, After a few years of signing the treaty, its clauses were overruled by India.

According to the treaty, India cannot build dams on the major rivers that are coming from India to Pakistan because, by doing so, the flow of water to Pakistan will be affected. But India openly violates this clause and is building dams on our major rivers. Moreover, when Pakistan severely needs water throughout the year, India either stops its flow or reduces it so that we may face a water shortage for our agricultural needs. But during monsoon rains, when there is plenty of water in rivers, India intentionally opens up the water gates to release a heavy water supply to Pakistan, causing floods in the regions surrounding the rivers.

In addition to this, due to shifts in the monsoon, climatic conditions, and environmental pollution, the pattern of the monsoon has changed; Pakistan either receives too little rain, insufficient to meet daily and agricultural needs, or gets so much rain that we find no place to store our rainwater as a result of a lack of dams and poor water management in Pakistan. The water either causes damage in the form of floods or gets lost, ending up useless in the sea.

Along with monsoon rains, global warming is melting our glaciers, raising our sea levels, and becoming a source of flooding. In such situations, building dams for better water management is crucial. In Pakistan, the building of dams has always raised controversy, leading the nation to no solution point.

In the case of Kalabagh Dam’s proposal, a dam along with two irrigation canals will be built on the Indus River. The two major provinces of Pakistan, Sindh and KPK, have opposed this proposal. Given that Sindh is located at the end of the river Indus and has been a victim of water shortages, further assume that building a dam will further reduce the water supply in the river Indus, depriving Sindhis of their right to get enough water for their needs. KPK opposed it because people thought that building a dam would cause acres of agricultural and farm-rich land to flood.

Despite solving this matter, our policymakers are continuously playing politics around it. They are not presenting any ripe and fruitful solution because it’s not in their favor to create an ease for the people to enjoy themselves without worrying about their losses in the Monsoon.

This blog section has given us an overview of the political situation and governance around water management in Pakistan. In the coming section, we will review critical issues that hinder effective governance and water management in Pakistan.

Key Issues Hinder Effective Governance and Water Management

  • Corruption: The strongly interwoven network of corruption in government institutions hampers the efficient allocation of resources, leading to the mismanagement of all the national resources, including water resources.
  • Lack of Transparency: Limited transparency in decision-making processes results in a lack of trust among citizens and stakeholders, hindering effective governance and water management in Pakistan.
  • Inefficiencies: Bureaucratic inefficiencies and red tape slow policy implementation and obstruct proper water resource management.

So, the factors mentioned above can lead to gaps in the existing policies; in the coming section, we will identify those gaps and how they are challenging in implementing effective water management in Pakistan.

Identifying Policy Gaps and Challenges

Gaps and Weaknesses in Current Policies

  • Lack of Integration: There is a lack of coordination among different government departments responsible for water management, leading to fragmented policies and inefficient resource allocation.
  • Limited Stakeholder Engagement: There needs to be more involvement of local communities and stakeholders in policy formulation to avoid decisions that do not align with ground realities and needs.

Challenges in Implementation and Enforcement

  • Capacity Constraints: Inadequate institutional capacity and technical expertise hinder the effective implementation of policies and projects related to water management in Pakistan.
  • Financial Constraints: Limited financial resources and budget allocations slow down the execution of effective water management plans and infrastructure projects.

Proposed Policy Solutions

To address the challenges mentioned above and build on best practices, we propose the following policy solutions:

  • National Water Policy Revision: Revise the National Water Policy to incorporate principles of integrated water management, stakeholder participation, and climate change adaptation.
  • Capacity Building and Training: Invest in training programs for community members, government officials, and water professionals involved in water management.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Develop public-private partnerships to utilize the expertise and investments of the private sector in water management in Pakistan.
  • Incentive Mechanisms: Introduce incentives for water conservation and efficient water use, such as tax breaks for adopting water-saving technologies.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the importance of water conservation and sustainable water management practices.

Addressing Concerns

Potential concerns about policy implementation can be solved through transparent communication, addressing stakeholders’ needs, and conducting pilot projects to test the feasibility and impact of proposed policies.

In conclusion, effective governance and sustainable water management are essential for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity. By identifying policy gaps and implementing innovative solutions, Pakistan can overcome challenges and pave the way for a water-secure and sustainable future.

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