National Drinking Water Policy
The Government of Pakistan recognizes provision of safe drinking water as a fundamental human right. In this context, the Ministry of Environment has formulated National Drinking Water Policy to provide adequate quantity of safe drinking water to the entire population at an affordable cost and in an equitable, efficient and sustainable manner. The formulation of the Policy involved extensive consultation with the line Ministries, AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan governments, NGOs, communities and other stakeholders.
The Policy aims to improve the quality of life of the people of Pakistan by reducing the incidence of death and illness caused by water-borne diseases. Toward this end, the Policy provides specific guidelines for increasing access to safe drinking water, protection and conservation of surface and groundwater resources, water treatment and safety, appropriate technologies and standardization, community participation, public awareness, capacity development, public-private partnership, research and development, emergency preparedness and response and coordinated planning and implementation.
The Policy places special emphasis on establishment of new drinking water systems, rehabilitation and up-gradation of existing water supply systems, sustainability of water supply infrastructure, water conservation, water quality improvement, water treatment and drinking water sector management information system. The Policy also suggests various legislative measures to ensure its effective implementation, including enforcement of the National Drinking Water Quality Standards. It stipulates that the respective tiers of the government will devise strategies and action plans in pursuit of the Policy.
The National Drinking Water Policy was placed before the Cabinet as a landmark achievement of National Year of Environment 2009, which was accorded approval on 28th September 2009, making Pakistan one of the few countries of the world having a national level Policy on the issue.
I am confident that our efforts will ensure renewed commitment of the Government of Pakistan to the aims and objectives of the National Drinking Water Policy as well as to raise its profile by developing concrete plans, programmes and actions at all levels.
I take this opportunity to thank UNICEF and other agencies as well as line Federal Ministries, Provincial, AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan governments and the staff of my Ministry for their support and contribution in accomplishing this important task. I also thank media, NGOs, numerous experts and other stakeholders who provide useful inputs in finalization of policy.
Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi
Federal Minister for Environment