World Bank approves $200m water project for Balochistan

Project is designed to boost farmers’ incomes

World Bank approves $200m water project for Balochistan

WASHINGTON: The World Bank has approved $200 million for a water management project in Balochistan which will benefit some 43,000 farm households in the province.

Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Project will support investment in two of the 18 basins in Balochistan Nari and Porali river basins.

According to a statement issued here, these river basins were selected based on an assessment of surface water resources development opportunities.

International Development Association, a lending arm of the World Bank, will finance the project. The loan is being extended on standard IDA terms with 25 years maturity, including a grace period of five years.

Balochistan is the least water secure province in Pakistan and farmers here face the greatest risks from climate change, says World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Illango Patchamuthu.

The project is designed to boost farmers’ incomes through new irrigation infrastructure and improved on farm management and rangeland management. An associated objective is building province s capacity for long term water resources planning, Patchamuthu added.

Under the project communities will be involved in construction and rehabilitation of irrigation and drinking water supply facilities flood protection infrastructure watershed management and environmental protection works and on farm water management and agricultural productivity activities.

The project will mainly benefit farmers with small holdings between 12.3 acres to 12.49.4 acres engaged in irrigated agriculture the statement said. The project will also strengthen province’s hydro meteorological monitoring and river basin information systems.

Groundwater is over exploited in many parts of the Nari and Porali basins and watersheds are degraded but opportunities exist for development of surface water resources and for rehabilitating watersheds and rangelands both to enhance production but also to protect water resources and improve climate resilience, William Young, task team leader of the project, said.