ISLAMABAD: Senate Forum for Policy Research  (SFPR) on Thursday recommended to the government to ensure sufficient and required funds for construction of dams to store sufficient water for use in agriculture and human consumption.

According to statement issued here, the Senate Forum for Policy Research in its meeting held here at the Parliament House also recommended to the government that necessary and required budget allocations for construction of new dams should be protected through legislation by the Parliament to ensure timely completion of such high projects.

The Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Shumail Ahmad Khan briefed the members of the Forum said Pakistan needs to finalize water policy immediately.

He said Pakistan is among the five top countries that face extremely high water stress and low access to safe drinking water.

“Today 80 percent burden of diseases is due to use of contaminated water in Pakistan, 60 percent of the water is being washed away to sea due to lack of storage capacity, United Nations has categorized Pakistan amongst those  few unfortunate countries where water shortage could destabilize and jeopardized its existence in next ten years,” he added.

The Secretary Water Resources Ministry said his Ministry has finalized a water policy which will be submitted to next meeting of Council of Common Interest for approval.

He said that Pakistan has very little water storage capacity which is only for 30 days. He said water table in all the areas of Pakistan is going down drastically.

Ministry of Planning and Development briefed the Forum that about 2 million acres of land has been lost to sea water intrusion in coastal areas of Sindh.

The Ministry said that there is a need to prepare comprehensive policy guidelines by the Parliament for allocation and distribution of funds by Planning Division with support of all the political parties.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar asked the Forum to recommend the government that at least 10 percent of the PS DP every year should be allocated for the construction of Basha Dam.

He said parliamentarian should come forward with solid proposals for ensuring sufficient funds for the construction of Basha and other important dams.

Chairman of the Forum Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari said that no concrete steps and policies had been adopted in the past by all the governments.

 He said now there is a need for comprehensive legislative support to the government to ensure allocation of funds and their timely release for the construction of dams especially Basha Dam. He said that all the issues including the important issue of construction of dams should be discussed in the Parliament and there should be legislation on them to ensure the continuous work on them even after change of governments.