ADB Approves $3.60 Million Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water Resources Development Project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved “Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Water Resources Development Project” with concessional ordinary capital resources lending of $3.60 million.

The project documents revealed that the government of Pakistan requested Project Readiness Financing (PRF) from the ADB to prepare the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Water Resources Development Project.

The project supports the government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025 and the ADB’s country partnership strategy for Pakistan, 2021-2025, which emphasizes addressing the food security constraints, building climate resilience, and investing in value-chain rural infrastructure developments importantly improving water storage and regulatory capacity, irrigation system upgrades, facilitating institutional transformation and sustainable maintenance and operational management of water resource systems.

The PRF is aligned with the ADB’s Strategy 2030 operational priorities of (i) addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities, (ii) accelerating progress in gender equality, (iii) building climate resilience, and (iv) promoting rural development and food security. The PRF is included in the ADB’s Indicative Country Pipeline and Monitoring Report for Pakistan, 2022-2024. The key strategic sector objectives of the Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s medium-term development framework for 2019-2023 are improved water resource management including improved efficiency of irrigation water usage.

The PRF will augment project start-up and early implementation capacity of the executing and implementing agencies particularly in resettlement plan implementation, procurement transactions and strengthening the overall PRF implementation management capacity.

The PRF will consult farming communities including women and other stakeholders and prepare agriculture value chain assessment for investment design. Digitization of irrigation and drainage system asset condition, farms level delineation, water resources and demand measurements, and system performance will strengthen capacities to sustainably design the operation and maintenance of the planned investments.

Agriculture yield and productivity per unit of water is below global and regional averages. This is because of growing scarcity of reliable, good quality water supply; land degradation, and mismanagement of agricultural production and water resources.

Pakistan has limited water resources. Without significant reform and demand management, water demand could increase 50 per cent by 2047 to significantly exceed supply. Population and economic growth will be the dominant drivers of demand increase. The largest increases will be for irrigation, while the fastest rates of increase will be for domestic and industrial use. Changes to Pakistan’s rainfall and runoff regimes and hence its water resources are highly uncertain. Increase in the incidence of drought conditions is likely.

Other studies indicate negative effects on major crops and cereals yields due to climate change. The sector requires holistic and integrated solutions, farm productivity, harvest and post-harvest losses, trade, value chains, small scale processing and farm operations are identified as key priority areas in cluster development-based agriculture transformation plan. Water shortage is identified as serious challenge in many clusters.

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