ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi may approve the “National Water Policy”, before the 6th federal budget of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government, in the Council of Common Interests’ meeting likely to be held by the end of next week.

This could be the last CCI’s meeting of the incumbent government to approve “National Water Policy”, keeping in view serious issues of climate change and depleting water resources in the country, sources shared with The Nation.

As, the federal government has already announced to present its 6th federal budget 2018-2019 on 27th April.

The National Water Policy, sources said, might unanimously be approved by all the provinces except some reservations from Sindh.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had already conveyed some reservations in the CCI’s meeting and also concerns in writing to the Planning Commission.

The government side members, sources said had also tried to satisfy Sindh province to unanimously approve water charter next week.

The National Water Policy is mainly aimed at dealing with water issues and developing new reservoirs as Pakistan is fast becoming a water-scarce country.

Unlike rest of the south Asian countries’ water policies have never been given a formal shape.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz, in the last CCI’s meeting had emphasised that Pakistan was rapidly becoming water-scarce and obligations towards Sustainable Development Goals required adoption of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).

Population growth and water demands for various sectors of the economy necessitate urgent measures to enhance storage capacity, he informed in the last CCI’s meeting.

The National Water Policy recognises the need for the sector to receive at least 10 per cent of the federal PSDP gradually increasing it to 20 per cent by 2030.

The provincial governments are urged to also increase expenditure for this sector as total allocation of Rs145 billion, which is seven per cent of the combined federal and provincial development budget for 2017-2018.