LAHORE: Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali on Tuesday warned of civil disobedience in Pakistan over the issue of water if the country failed to evolve a consensus over the construction of new dams.
“Failure to build new dams (for storing water) will sow the seeds of dissension among provinces,” he said while talking to reporters after inaugurating the two-day international conference on Standardising Flood Forecasting and Warning Approaches in Trans-boundary Catchments being organised by Unesco and Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) here at a local hotel.
The workshop is a part of Unesco’s “Strategic Strengthening of Flood Early Warning and Management Capacity of Pakistan” Project-phase-II which was launched in March 2015 in cooperation with the government of Japan.
Conference on flood early warning system kicks off
The first phase of the project was launched in July 2011 and was completed in 2014 in response to the 2010 devastating flood.
The minister reiterated his ministry’s announcement that there would be six-hour loadshedding in urban and eight-hour in rural areas this summer. The expected generation would be 18,000MW. The duration of loadshedding would further be reduced after the commissioning of the ongoing power projects by next year, he said.
Abid Sher Ali said the government would take decisions on its own and not on the dictation of Imran Khan. The PTI leader must go to Raiwind to get guidance from the Tablighi Markaz.
Speaking at the conference, the minister appreciated Unesco, PMD and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for launching the project. He said there was a need to reduce the damages from intense rains and flash floods, which would occur more frequently due to climate change. He urged the PMD to ensure that the project benefited people.
PMD Director General Dr Ghulam Rasul thanked Unesco for initiating the project to strengthen the flood early warning system in Pakistan. The project had enhanced technical capacity of PMD which enabled its engineers to develop state-of-the-art Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Pakistan.
Unesco Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Director Dr Shahbaz Khan said through the project, Unesco in collaboration with its partners especially PMD, FFD, ICHARM, and JAXA would complete the integrated IFAS/RRI system and other water studies covering the whole Indus River Basin, and the combined models could be utilised for flood forecasting and early warning in Pakistan.
Embassy of Japan First Secretary Mr Teppei Nakagawa said like Pakistan, Japan was also disaster-prone country and in this regard Japanese experience was helping manage disaster risk reduction in Pakistan to decrease the damages.
Unesco Representative to Pakistan Ms. Vibeke Jensen said cooperation on the trans-boundary water issues in South Asia was increasingly important in the context of the global climate change. She said Unesco was supporting international cooperation on flood management with the neighbouring countries and was striving to promote technical collaborations through Pakistan expertise, which was developed under the Project Phase-I and Unesco’s International Hydrological Program (IHP) at the global and regional levels.
Mr. Hiromu INOUE of JICA said the body was pleased to note that Japanese technologies were benefiting people of Pakistan. He shared that as part of the project which was started last year, JICA was working closely with Unesco, Pakistan and Afghanistan, under which the Afghan engineers would be trained in Pakistan.