Press release

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR)
Contributing to Water and Food Security in Balochistan
ADB’s Inception Workshop on Balochistan Water Resources Development Project

Islamabad: 10th March 2016


Asian Development Bank (ADB), co-organized by the Federal Government of Pakistan and Government of Balochistan in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), held the inception workshop on Technical Assistance: Balochistan Water Resources Development Project in Serena Hotel.

Pakistan has to increase food production by 40-50% to meet the needs of a projected population of 221 million by 2025. However the country’s annual water availability per capita is less than water scarcity threshold of 1,000 cubic meters per capita in 2015. Water variability further intensifies the water scarcity.

Water situation in Balochistan is rather worse. Akhtar Ali, Principal Water Resources Specialist, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division, Central and West Asia Department, ADB emphasized urgent action to achieve water and food security; “Agriculture accounts about 23% of the country’s GDP, 55% of labor force, and supports industry by providing raw materials and consuming products by other industries. However, the agricultural sector – main livelihood source of the rural communities, suffers from water shortage, frequent drought, and poor farming practices, and exposes the rural communities to high vulnerability especially women and children.”

Tthe technical assistance of US$1.1 million was financed by Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to face the challenge, which will assist Government of Balochistan to assess basin’s water resources and develop priority projects within the two selected basins.

Mr. Takashi Harada, Counsellor for Economic and Development, the Embassy of Japan in Pakistan, expressed his delightfulness at Japan’s commitment to improve water and food security in the region, and reaffirmed Japan’s continuous support to projects in Pakistan. He stressed that Japan has been assisting Pakistan in water management and agriculture sector in all regions in its history of more than 60 year Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Pakistan. He expressed his hope that this as well as other projects will benefit Pakistani people.

The technical assistance will help to develop a water resource information system (WRIS) using Remote Sensing and GIS technology. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will support the technical assistance as technical advisor. During the workshop, Ms. Rio Tanabe, Associate Senior Administrator, Satellite Application & Operations Center, JAXA shared JAXA’s experience of utilizing technology for water resources and river basin management. On successful demonstration the WRIS could be extended covering other provinces and entire country.

The WRIS, in which major satellite-based data is periodically updated without any cost and GIS is installed, will serve as a data repository and a simple analysis tool for water sector planning in the region. It enables government officers and other stakeholders to easily access water resources data, share the information, and help to diagnose water resources management situation including evaluation of irrigation performance.

The technical assistance will also help processing ensuing loan up to US$100 million for sustained water management actions.

For further information, please contact:
 Sajid Abbasi, Senior Press, Information & Political Advisor, the Embassy of Japan in Pakistan, Phone:+92-51-907-2500, Email: sajid.abbasi@ib.mofa.go.jp
 Noriko Sato, Natural Resources Specialist, Asian Development Bank, Phone:+63-2-632-1757, Email: nsato@adb.org