River basins’ management, wetlands’ development vital to reduce flood risk: Ministry

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ISLAMABAD, June 20 (APP): Effective management of river basins and development of wetlands along the major tributaries should be the vital part of the strategy to reduce the flood risk especially during monsoon season, a senior official of the Ministry of Climate Change said Monday.

“Such measures can also increase underground water resources, which are fast depleting,” Deputy Director Media and Communications Mohammad Saleem told APP.

“Of all the devastating impacts of climate change being experienced by the country, floods are proving to be more destructive, causing socio-economic losses of worth billions of rupees,” he said.

The present government, he said, was aware of the climate change-induced flood risk in the country and was taking all-out practical measures to mitigate its impacts on the lives of people, their livelihoods, public infrastructure, particularly agriculture.

Talking about recent visit of a Pakistani delegation to the Yangtze River basin in China, Mohammad Saleem the main objective of the visit was to see how the Chinese manage flood plains and wisely use floods for economic and environmental benefits.

“It was surely amazing the way China has managed to mitigate the flood risk in the Yangtze River basin spread over catchment area of 1.8 million square kilometers. This offers great viable lesson for Pakistan to make the flood-prone Indus River basin the flood-proof river basin in the light of the Chinese experience,” he said.

He said it was learnt during the visit that effective river basin management and restoration of wetlands can help significantly to mitigate flood risk being faced by Pakistan.

“The country desperately needs more reservoirs to increase its water storage capacity, and called for conservation awareness campaigns, the introduction of drought-tolerant crop varieties and more economical irrigation,” he remarked.