Pakistan is totally reliant on the surface and groundwater resources of the Indus Basin to support food, energy and economic security. Pakistan faces some significant challenges with more than 40% of the population malnourished, the number of people impacted by this is increasing with a rapidly growing population. These issues are exacerbated by unsustainable use of groundwater, changes in the seasonality of inflows, and limited storage (30 days of use). On this basis the Indus Basin is one of the most vulnerable river basins in Asia.
Pakistan and Australia have a long history of working together and the similarities between the Indus and the Murray-Darling Basin provide a foundation for a strong water partnership. Building on this foundation, the Australian government through its Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) is helping Pakistan implement Australian water resource management technologies, and building local capacity in integrated water resource management and impact assessment. The project is led by CSIRO as part of a 12 year program funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and CSIRO.
With limited storage, predictions of water availability for the coming irrigation season are important for the equitable and efficient delivery of water throughout the Indus system in Pakistan. SDIP is helping Pakistan to make better predictions of future seasonal inflows. SDIP is also assisting Pakistan to build a modelling framework that considers the interaction between surface and groundwater resources. When completed the framework will help Pakistan in understanding the impacts of climate, management interventions and infrastructure development on water, food and energy security and the associated impacts on people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
The implementation of Australian water management technologies and associated capacity building is supporting a more productive and water secure Pakistan.
Several key tools are being developed to assess water availability, sharing and delivery:
Water management tools are linked within a framework to explore water related development scenarios for Pakistan. Scenarios of interest include:
Project leader: Mobin Ahmad