ADB pledges $8.32m for water resource management projects in Punjab
ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement on Wednesday to provide $8.32 million in financing to the government of Pakistan to enable vital preparatory work ahead of a series of major projects to enhance water availability and increase agricultural productivity in Punjab.
Disbursed as a project readiness financing facility for the Punjab Water Resources Management projects, the loan will finance the preparation of detailed designs and safeguard documents, feasibility studies, and other due diligence work ahead of the implementation of five priority irrigation infrastructure projects identified by the provincial government, said a press release by the ADB.
“Agriculture is a mainstay of Pakistan’s economy and vital to ensuring continued food security,” said ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang. “This loan will ensure that the proposed, upcoming irrigation projects—which are fundamental to the development of Pakistan’s agriculture sector—get off to the best possible start.”
The agreement was signed by Ms. Yang and the Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division Syed Pervaiz Abbas at a ceremony held here.
Punjab is heavily reliant on the Indus Basin Irrigation System, which provides irrigation water to some 15 million hectares of land across South Asia. However, deteriorated and century-old irrigation systems and inefficient water management have led to the unreliable delivery of surface water.
The five projects identified by the provincial government include the rehabilitation and upgrade of Upper Jhelum Canal System; improvement of the Dera Ghazi Khan Canal irrigation system; remodeling of the Rasul–Qadirabad, Qadirabad–Balliki, and Balloki–Suleimanki canals; Greater Thal Canal Project Phase 2 (Dhingana Branch System, Noorpur Brabch System, and Mahmood Sub-Branch System); and harnessing of hill Torrents in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.
The Project Readiness Financing Facility helps ADB members to better leverage development funds, lower project costs, and speed up implementation and overall development processes.
By reducing potential implementation delays, this loan will also enable the Punjab government to mobilize funding for the five priority projects—estimated to be $1.2 billion in total investment—more effectively. - APP