Bringing transparency and consistency in Pakistan’s inter-provincial seasonal water planning decisions

April 23rd, 2020

Water distribution system pakistan
Supplied by Mobin

Water distribution system in Pakistan

The problem

Every irrigation season, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) of Pakistan has to allocate irrigation water to its provinces.

The basis for allocation is captured in the Water Apportionment Accord which sets out principles but not detail, and the process is always contentious and often challenged.

This is a key water resource challenge in Pakistan, and one that the Australian Government has targeted as part of their support to that country through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio.


Workshop delegates
Workshops and training were part of SDIP's project work with WAPDA in Pakistan

Workshops and training are part of SDIP’s project work with the Water and Power Authority in Pakistan

The solution

With IRSA, CSIRO has co-designed a tool which incorporates several ways of interpreting the sharing arrangements within the Accord, allowing real-time exploration of different outcomes.



IRSA have just used the tool to support the 2020 Kharif cropping season allocation process, with the provinces.

They found larger (additional 0.8 MAF or 987 gigalitres) and more equitable supplies can be distributed among provinces through efficient reservoir and irrigation     system operations. This will help improve water, food and economic security in Pakistan.


Wheat harvesting, Pakistan
Wheat harvesting, Pakistan

Wheat harvesting, Pakistan

About SDIP

The SDIP Phase 2 aims to improve the integrated management of water, energy and food in the Himalayan river basins, addressing climate risk and the interests of women and girls. It seeks to:

  • strengthen practices for regional cooperation
  • generate and use critical new knowledge to enhance regional cooperation
  • improve the regional enabling environment for private sector engagement.

Find out more about SDIP in CSIRO by visiting our website and the Pakistan page

Access the SDIP publications and Pakistan publications

Find more information about international water research at CSIRO