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World Water Day: Managing the urban flooding and water scarcity

Islamabad, March 21, 2019 (PPI-OT): With rapidly growing population in Pakistan, per capita surface water availability has declined from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016. This quantity is likely to further drop to about 860 cubic meters by 2025 marking Pakistan’s’ transition from a “water stressed” to a “water scarce” country (The minimum water requirement to avoid food and health implications of water scarcity is 1,000 cubic meters per capita per year).

At the same time, Pakistan was hit by one of the worst natural disasters – floodwaters inundated 38,600 km2 area in all four provinces and affected an estimated 20 million people, mostly by destruction of property, infrastructure and lands of livelihood, with a death toll close to 2,000. The resulting damages of about $10 billion were unprecedented in scale and magnitude-they were nearly half the cumulative total damages in the last 60 years.

The infrastructural quality is weak and shelters in the region are not disaster resilient and hence cannot withstand floods, winds, and landslides, causing massive destruction. The brunt of droughts and floods mostly falls on the poorest people of the country who reside in smaller and informal settlements where the infrastructure and construction are of poor quality.

UN Habitat provides a cross-cutting approach, through its focus on urban flood management and addressing water scarcity issues. In this regard, UN Habitat receives endorsement from adaptation fund for managing urban flooding and water scarcity issues in Rawalpindi and Nowshera aiming to enhance community, local and national-level urban climate change resilience to water scarcity, caused by floods and droughts.

The project objectives and targets are well aligned with the National Climate Change Policy as well as new National Water Policy (2018) and National Flood Protection Plan (2016). The main objective of the proposed project is to enhance community, local and national-level urban climate change resilience to water scarcity, caused by floods and droughts in Rawalpindi and Nowshera. This will be achieved through the following sub-objectives:

Enhance community- and household-level flood resilient water harvesting facilities (using innovative techniques) and strengthen capacities to plan, construct, operate, maintain and duplicate these.

Enhance city and district-level water harvesting facilities in public buildings and on water storages in public gardens, develop district / city-level spatial strategies as tool to assess climate change related floods, droughts and water scarcity to plan for and manage climate change risks and to strengthen capacities to plan, construct, operate, maintain and duplicate water harvesting facilities in public buildings and gardens.

Strengthen national-level capacity to guide / direct city-level development considering climate change and disaster risks and impacts, especially water scarcity caused by floods and droughts.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

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