ISLAMABAD - Adviser to the Prime Minister/Federal Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that ground water depletion was the outcome of misplaced priorities and policies of the previous governments.

However, the present government has kicked off a national policy initiative of the Recharge Pakistan  to boost groundwater recharge through enhanced conservation, water harvesting in all forms including rainwater harvesting, reducing groundwater mining for all purposes through coordinated efforts with provincial governments, he said.

Ground water recharge with the name of ‘Recharge Pakistan’ is one of the five components of present government’s vision of Clean Green Pakistan. By the help of partners, flood water and rain water will be used to recharge underground aquifers. He said that their government would protect and recharge 4th largest freshwater aquifers of the world for the future generations. He was chairing a meeting on Recharge Pakistan and ground water depletion in Ministry of Climate Change. Pakistan Council for Research and Water Recharge (PCRWR) presented its findings in a presentation. Representatives of PCRWR told that they had established their offices all across the country having 7 regional and 18 sub-regional offices. Organization told that they were conducting their work keeping in mind Pakistan Water Vision 2025, Sustainable Development Goals, National Water Policy 2018 and National Water Research Agenda 2016-2025. Minister was told that Pakistan’s fresh water was fast depleting because of unregulated pumping. 93% of pumped water was being used for agricultural purposes while 90% of the drinking water and almost all the industrial water was being extracted from ground sources. Pakistan’s 40% of cultivable land was Barani land while government’s policies towards arid agriculture had further aggravated the situation.

The minister advised the organisation to come up with solution, especially for water management, rainwater harvesting and improving water quality. The organisation informed the adviser that they had done a laborious job in developing fresh water maps for the whole country at the depth of 1-50 meters and 51-100 meters. They also apprised that they were using NASA’s technology called GRACE for this purpose.

By use of the mentioned technology, real time monitoring of the underground fresh water aquifers is possible, they elaborated.

The minister was also apprised about water recharge technology and fresh water skimming technology for water pumping. Heavy pumping of water in Indian Punjab, environmental flows and pollutants in Indian controlled rivers also came under discussion.

The minister said that the government was already working with Chinese government under the CPEC for ground water recharge and working group was already in place.

He said that the WWF was also facilitating government of Pakistan in a similar project. Federal Minister asked scientists of PCRWR to come up with a comprehensive plan how and where to recharge ground reserves.