Over 40,000 farmer households to benefit from improved water management: WB

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ISLAMABAD, June 29 (APP): The World Bank has approved a $200 million credit on Tuesday to strengthen Balochistan government’s initiative for community-based water management for irrigation in the province.

The Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management & Development Projectwill support investments in two of the eighteen basins in Balochistan – Nari and Porali river basins. These river basins were selected based on an assessment of surface water resources development opportunities, said a statement issued by the bank here Wednesday.

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

“The Project is designed to boost farmer 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.”

Communities will be mobilized for participation 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 main project beneficiaries will be small-holding farmers (up to 12.3 acres) and mediumholding farmers (12.35 to 49.4 acres) engaged in irrigated agriculture.

Approximately 42,800 farm households will benefit from project’s interventions.The province’s hydro-meteorological monitoring and river basin information systems will also be strengthened.

“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”, says William Young,Task Team Leader of the Project.

The project will be financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s grant and low interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.