ISLAMABAD: - The allocation for water sector is likely to go down in the PSDP 2018-19 as instead of allocating 10 percent of the total development portfolio for the water sector , as agreed in the National Water Policy, the government have combined both hydro electric power and water sector and has given a budget ceiling of Rs59 billion.

The demand of both hydro electric power and water resource were Rs272 billion however the government has provided a ceiling of only Rs59 billion which mean further decrease in the allocation for water sector , official source told The Nation.

In PSDP 2017-18 the PSDP allocation of water sector was Rs36.75 billion and for the upcoming budget the Indicative Budget Ceiling (IBC) for both hydro electric power and water resource is Rs59 billion, the source said.

The IBC of Rs59 billion in PSDP 2018-19 means that the allocation for water sector will reduce to less than Rs30 billion against the Rs36.75 billion allocations of current fiscal.

For example the source said that construction of Mohmand Dam which comes under the hydel generation project (power sector) and Rs1000 million were allocated in the PSDP 2017-18 but this year it was combined with water projects and will be funded jointly with the water resource projects.

Similarly in the current PSDP the construction of Diamer- Bhasha Dam Project Lot 1 to 5 (4500 MW) was under the hydro electric power project and has an allocation of Rs one billion only, but this year it will be funded from water resource allocations.

It is true that now the reservoir portion of Bhasha comes under the water resource and the ministry of water resources has proposed an allocation of Rs36 billion for Bhasha Dam in the upcoming PSDP, however with total IBC of just Rs59 billion, for both water sector and hydro electro power sector, the allocation of the proposed amount is not possible.

Same is the case with other hydro electric power projects which will be now funded jointly with water projects, the source said.

The source said that it the reduction in the allocation for water sector will affect on the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam which phase-I, the construction of water reservoir, comes under the ministry of water resources. In the PSDP 2017-18 the total allocation of water sector were Rs36750.00 million and the utilization till March 30, 2018 were Rs 25563.461 million.

Water sector has never been taken seriously by the government and this was the reason that today Pakistan is at risk of water scarcity and is among the 36 most water-stressed countries in the world, the source said.