The World Bank has approved a $146 million loan for the second phase of Pakistan Barrages Improvement Project to rehabilitate and modernise the Jinnah Barrage in the Indus Basin, and to improve irrigation and water management. Punjab Barrages Improvement Phase II Project aims to strengthen and modernise Jinnah Barrage and affiliated works to enable reliable and uninterrupted supply of water for over 2.1 million acres of farmland benefiting about 600,000 farm families for irrigation and domestic water users. It also aims to build the capacity of Punjab Irrigation and Power Department's (IPD) in water resource management and irrigation system management, the World Bank said. "The development and management of water resources of the Indus Basin is a huge challenge, requiring very high levels of administrative engineering and scientific capability," Masood Ahmad, World Bank lead water resources specialist and project team leader said. "While there has been progress, the current irrigation and drainage system suffers from deteriorating infrastructure and weak governance. To reduce volatility to growth, Bank support will include rehabilitation of barrages and continued capacity development at the regional and federal level for managing water resources," he said. The World Bank said agriculture being the backbone of Pakistan's economy, employs 50 per cent of the labour force (directly or indirectly) and earns 600 per cent of export revenues. The agriculture sector contributes around 25 per cent of GDP. Pakistan's agriculture system is wholly dependent on irrigation- irrigated land supplies more than 90 per cent of agricultural production, it said. "Improvements in basic infrastructure including water supplies are critical to improving human development outcomes," John Wall, World Bank acting country director for Pakistan. "With growth there has been an increase in demand for better infrastructure. However, Pakistan's infrastructure platform needs significant investment in order to support Pakistan's growth and service delivery goals," Wall said.