Wa­ter Re­source Man­age­ment Con­flicts: Ev­i­dences from Pak­istan and Tu­nisia

The Diplomatic Insight - - Contents - Dr. Habibul­lah Magsi and Dr. Saoussen Saied

Wa­ter is not how­ever equally or even eq­ui­tably dis­trib­uted to ev­ery-one, but the gap be­tween its de­mand and sup­ply across the re­gions coun­tries. In re­al­ity to­day mil­lions of peo­ple live in a highly wa­ter-stressed en­vi­ron­ment, where de­mo­graphic, eco­nomic, tech­no­log­i­cal, so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors are ma­jor driv­ers af­fect­ing wa­ter sce­nar­ios. It is ob­vi­ous that the at­ti­tudes to­wards wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion and con­sump­tion vary across re­gions. In this re­gard the equa­tion of shar­ing com­mon pool re­sources like wa­ter be­tween agri­cul­ture and other eco­nomic sec­tors have been dis­cussed in many con­ven­tions, but led all com­mu­ni­ca­tion and co­or­di­na­tion in­ef­fec­tive due to; strong com­pe­ti­tion in­ter­ests, lack of co­op­er­a­tion and lack of ef­fec­tive con­sul­ta­tion mech­a­nisms. There­fore, this ar­ti­cle re­views about geopol­i­tics as well as their im­pacts on ru­ral de­vel­op­ment in the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, es­pe­cially in Pak­istan (In­dus delta re­gion) and Tu­nisia (Cap Bon re­gion). This will give us the macro pic­ture of pre­vail­ing gov­er­nance struc­tures in the re­spected basins, which may help to for­mu­late a suit­able wa­ter man­age­ment model.

In­dus Delta (tail of In­dus River in Pak­istan) con­sists of 0.6 mil­lion hectares and fring­ing man­groves, which is char­ac­ter­ized as wet­land com­plex. The ma­jor eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity of the Delta in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties has fol­lowed by agri­cul­ture and live­stock herd­ing. In fact wa­ter re­source in Pak­istan is un­der great pres­sure, where its avail­abil­ity is not enough in the sys­tem to en­ter­tain the lux­ury of the ex­ist­ing projects on the In­dus River sys­tem. Be­cause of ir­reg­u­lar In­dus for hu­man and an­i­mals, fol­lowed by agri­cul­ture and in­dus­try, while its other con­sid­er­able uses in­clud­ing hy­dropower, tourism gen­er­a­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, etc. In or­der to over­come this wa­ter short­age the coun­try has en­vis­aged a Vi­sion-2025 and planned nu­mer­ous projects for con­struc­tion with­out ap­pro­pri­ate con­sul­ta­tion of Sindh (lower stream and home of delta). Pre­dictably, if the Vi­sion-2025 is im­ple­mented, the wa­ter will no more be avail­able in the In­dus delta. Ac­cord­ing to the ex­perts that this vi­sion will cre­ate an im­mi­nent eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter in the lower In­dus basin that would even­tu­ally cre­ate a famine sit­u­a­tion in the province, rather to pros­per­ity. The Cap Bon (Tu­nisia) is char­ac­ter­ized by its in­tense agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, which at­tract large in­dus­trial and tourist ac­tiv­i­ties. Thus wa­ter re­sources of Cap Bon de­rived pri­mar­ily from ground­wa­ter, es­pe­cially on the eastern of to­tal) and in the plains of Grom­balia

(20 per­cent of po­ten­tial), while the rest is con­trib­uted from El Haouaria where most im­por­tant wa­ter­sheds are lo­cated from south west to north east, i.e., Mor­naguia, Laabid, Zo­gag and Mgaïz val­leys re­spec­tively. In or­der to meet in­creas­ing de­mand of wa­ter by dif­fer­ent eco­nomic sec­tors (agri­cul­ture, tourism, in­dus­try as well as do­mes­tic use) the state has built dozen of dams, wa­ter reser­voirs and also im­ple­mented an but all seemed to reach­ing their lim­its.

In fact, over past year the con­sump­tion of wa­ter for do­mes­tic use has been in­creased about 6 per­cent. It is also es­ti­mated that the pop­u­la­tion of the city of Ham­mamet (largest tourist des­ti­na­tion in Cap Bon), will reach about al­most dou­ble in 2020, which need ba­sic ameni­ties in­clud­ing wa­ter al­most dou­ble or may be more. Ob­vi­ously it will leave re­duced area of ir­ri­gated farm­land and might leave a ques­tion mark on food sus­tain­abil­ity.


It is no­ticed that so­cioe­co­nomic, po­lit­i­cal, en­vi­ron­men­tal char­ac­ter­is­tics and the cli­matic con­di­tions are quite dif­fer­ent, but in both coun­tries agri­cul­ture is the main wa­ter con­sumer (80 per­cent in Tu­nisia and more than 80 per­cent in Pak­istan). other sec­tors re­gard­ing their gov­er­nance sys­tem and strate­gies, e.g., in Pak­istan, in­dus­trial sec­tor is sec­ond largest wa­ter con­sumer, af­ter do­mes­tic and tourism sec­tor is sec­ond largest wa­ter con­sumer, fol­lowed by in­dus­trial sec­tor and do­mes­tic uses. In Tu­nisia, tourism and in­dus­trial sec­tors are con­sid­ered as a ma­jor fo­cus of de­vel­op­ment pol­icy and land use plan­ning. Those two sec­tors are wa­ter use should not be lim­ited. It is for this rea­son that man­age­ment strate­gies aimed at ra­tion­al­iz­ing the use of nat­u­ral re­sources es­pe­cially the agri­cul­ture which con­sumes a lot of wa­ter. On the other hand, in the Pak­istan, de­spite of ex­is­tence of nu­mer­ous nat­u­ral there is no proper pol­icy and strat­egy to en­cour­age the tourism sec­tor. Un­for­tu­nately, the de­vel­op­ment of dams in up­per stream led neg­a­tive im­pacts on ecosys­tem es­pe­cially degra­da­tion of de­cline in agri­cul­ture be­cause, which and mis­man­age­ment of the re­source. As re­sults, ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion move to other ar­eas and even changed their lifestyle, since the degra­da­tion of Delta has be­gun.

In Cap Bon, ma­jor­ity of farm­ers have rec­og­nized that they are suf­fer­ing from peo­ple resided be­tween la­goon and ur­ban sur­round­ings, which has low­ered eco­nomic earn­ing of lo­cal pop­u­la­tion; be­cause un­avail­abil­ity of to rent the loges. A lo­cal per­son has re­ported that there is a fail­ure in stor­age sys­tem that was de­signed to en­sure wa­ter sup­ply from shal­low wells. The state in­ter­ven­tions (es­tab­lish­ment of pro­tec­tion perime­ter, ground­wa­ter to solve the prob­lem of farm­ers who com­plain about pol­lu­tion (dis­charge of sewage in the la­goon), the po­si­tion of ad­ja­cent la­goons and of per­sons who are op­er­at­ing in these ar­eas lack of in­for­ma­tion, di­a­logue and com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween farm­ers and the gov­ern­ment led to the cre­ation of the sus­tain­able man­age­ment of wa­ter re­source. There­fore, like Pak­istan the Tu­nisia is also suf­fer­ing from weak gov­er­nance sys­tem. Since 1970s in Tu­nisian gov­ern­ment has opted pol­icy of ma­jor hy­draulic works aim­ing to store max­i­mum wa­ter by build­ing dams and dis­trib­ute wa­ter from north achieve a real in­ter­con­nec­tion at the na­tional level. How­ever, this pol­icy has many short­com­ings, e.g., state had acted for more than two decades with­out par­tic­i­pa­tion and as­pi­ra­tions of in the man­age­ment and use of wa­ter and it’s re­cy­cling (waste of large amount of wa­ter) as well as lower par­tic­i­pa­tory man­age­ment (due to low lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion, lack of aware­ness of of these de­vel­op­ment projects.

On the other hands, In­dus delta the eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion and land­scape at­trac­tions are be­ing suf­fered from cur­rent wa­ter sup­ply man­age­ment prac­tices. Thus in gen­eral, wa­ter short­age is af­fect­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and in par­tic­u­lar bel­low rec­om­mended es­cape has al­lowed sea­wa­ter in­tru­sion. There­fore it is rec­om­mended that in case of Pak­istan any fur­ther up­stream de­vel­op­ment of stor­age (wa­ter reser­voir) must be pre­ceded by a full eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment, oth­er­wise the coun­try will suf­fer from man­made draught like sit­u­a­tions. In par­al­lel, we risk as bi­otic po­ten­tial of many species is start­ing to be di­min­ished and many of them may be lost for­ever. Sim­i­larly in the Cap Bon, due to man­age­ment fail­ure the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion is us­ing brack­ish wa­ter to their farm lands; re­sul­tantly the re­gional soil is be­com­ing more sa­line. How­ever, other wa­ter con­sum­ing sec­tors like tourisms should be pro­moted along with the coasts of Cap Bon and In­dus delta. In gen­eral the coastal zones with con­tem­po­rary and pat­ri­mo­nial land­scapes might not only gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, but also con­trib­ute in na­tional econ­omy.


Based on the ex­pe­ri­ences it is highly rec­om­mended that public author­i­ties needed to re­for­mu­late their gov­er­nance struc­ture at re­gional to na­tional scales as well as to make aware the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion about re­gional eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity with all eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties. In this re­gard the pur­suit of a sin­gle in­crease in cap­i­tal costs, com­pe­ti­tion be­tween wa­ter users and wors­en­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. Thus, pur­su­ing the mo­bi­liza­tion of avail­able wa­ter re­source (not only in the case study zones but also in the de­vel­op­ing

coun­tries which are fac­ing sim­i­lar fates), we have for­mu­lated a new man­age­ment strat­egy, which com­prised on three key pil­lars, which may be seem through fol­low­ing ta­ble: This model can help pol­icy de­sign­ers in their de­ci­sion sup­port ca­pa­bil­i­ties how to main­tain eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and to meet the in­creas­ing de­mands as well as it can also help to val­u­ate this liq­uid re­source at farm-gate level. It is also pro­posed that to aware farm­ers for on-farm small scale wa­ter stor­ages, which might be help­ful dur­ing draught sea­sons. Ad­di­tion­ally, for long term sug­gested that to mo­ti­vate in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion for crop ro­ta­tions from high to low wa­ter in­tense crops and to con­sid­er­able re­use of sew­er­age wa­ter for farm ir­ri­ga­tion, ur­ban green spa­ces and tourist units, where gov­ern­ment has to pro­vide ex­ten­sion ser­vices, in or­der to avoid neg­a­tive im­pacts of waste wa­ter on the health of farm house­holds. The de­mand for wa­ter re­source man­age­ment is then a prin­ci­pal axis of the wa­ter pol­icy in the fu­ture to con­trol con­sump­tion in var­i­ous sec­tors, es­pe­cially the agri­cul­ture, a ma­jor wa­ter con­sumer, and de­lay as long as pos­si­ble due to the use of non-con­ven­tional wa­ter re­sources (treat­ment of de­sali­nated and waste­water). The preser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity of wa­ter in­fra­struc­tures are now a pri­mary con­cern in the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Such coun­tries have ini­ti­ated the ser­vices based on public-pri­vate part­ner­ship in as­so­ci­a­tion with the World Bank to im­ple­ment a del­e­gated man­age­ment of wa­ter re­source at large-scale. How­ever, their ef­forts on sup­ply man­age­ment are reach­ing lim­its both phys­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally, as we see from our case stud­ies from Pak­istan and Tu­nisia.

Although both the economies have dif­fer­ent wa­ter man­age­ment prac­tices and mech­a­nisms for their pre­cious nat­u­ral re­source, but are sim­i­larly lump­ing along the pace of de­vel­op­ment with gov­er­nance fail­ures. We must think about set­ting up a more ef­fec­tive pol­icy frame­work, a more or­ga­nized so­cial and po­lit­i­cal cli­mate and more fa­vor­able eco­nomic con­di­tions for wa­ter sup­ply and man­age­ment in a sus­tain­able man­ner. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment is pol­icy con­cern is­sue and will re­quire a frame­work of in­te­grated wa­ter man­age­ment in which fu­ture de­vel­op­ment will have to con­sider the en­vi­ron­ment as stake­holder and it should be key fac­tor dur­ing key strat­egy de­ci­sion and ac­tions. In this re­gard a strong geopo­lit­i­cal force for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new wa­ter man­age­ment prac­tices may bring back the liveli­hood of the in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion in the sim­i­lar fats of Pak­istan and Tu­nisia.

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