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University of Cambridge (2019)

The Feasibility of Integrated Water Resources Management in Pakistan

Abbey, Rachel

Titre : The Feasibility of Integrated Water Resources Management in Pakistan

Auteur : Abbey, Rachel

Université de soutenance : University of Cambridge

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2019

Due to increasing demographic pressures and widespread mismanagement, Pakistan is experiencing a severe water crisis. The mismanagement of Pakistan’s resources is linked to its legacy of colonialism. Failures to reign in the stranglehold of the rural elite or invest in transformative policies is leading to a downward spiral of poverty linked to environmental degradation (European Commission 2007). However, Pakistan is rarely included in studies of IWRM, this is in spite of knowledge gaps on the potential for a more tailored forms of IWRM in countries containing semi-feudal setups and colonial based systems of water management. The research question for this study therefore focuses on aspects of IWRM that can be tailored to Pakistan’s country context using the agricultural provinces of Punjab and Sindh as case studies. Due to the emphasis on shifting away from universal approaches, a significant portion of the study analyses the type and causes of water problems and existing legislation and institutions for water management in Pakistan. Field research is utilised to further contribute to identified gaps in IWRM literature. This field research is in the form of key informant interviews with government officials, an institutional assessment of Farmers Organisations and Water User Associations, and focus group discussions with farming communities. The study finds major flaws in Pakistan’s water agreements, funding systems, and institutional framework leading to operational problems. It finds that institutions created under participatory irrigation policies have made political alliances in order to function exacerbating biases in water allocations. The study concludes that for IWRM to be effective, it must be accompanied by land redistribution to weaken the political power of landlords, legislative changes to improve the transparency of voting, improved regulations, strengthened enforcement, and greater clarity in water agreements. Donor expectations on the role of women in irrigation management must also be more realistic if they are to be represented. The study finds that due to the severity of current problems, if changes are not implemented, Pakistan will confront increasing political instability in the coming years.

Mots clés : Pakistan, Water, Integrated Management, Sectoral Integration, Water Resources, Climate change, Irrigation Management


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