Volume II-Number 2

David Firman

Abstract: This article examines the Pakistani irrigation policies that were enacted so as to enhance and stabilize the state’s largely agrarian economy. Irrigation efforts, such as the Rechna Doab and the Warsak Dam projects, have considerably improved the country’s prospects for economic development. However, this article uncovers an opposite reality and asserts that despite the increased utility of 15 million acres of irrigated Pakistani land, irrigation efforts have been significantly curtailed due to the tenuous relations Pakistan shares with its neighbor, India. The government of Pakistan has attempted to address the country’s irrigation problems through five-year projects, in which each plan sought to extend cultivated land, increase the use of fertilizer, better utilize seed, and augment industrialization. Moreover, the effective allocation of, and access to, water is also critical to the successful development of Pakistan’s irrigation efforts. However, conflicts with India over the Indus River and territorial claims of the Kashmir region make securing potential future water sources increasingly difficult. Additionally, the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty helped alleviate some Pakistani-Indian tensions, but ultimately favored India and, thus, hindered the continued growth of Pakistan’s irrigation capabilities. This article further examines the enduring problems that Pakistan will need to address as a result of the state’s abridged irrigation efforts. Issues surrounding the economic, physical, political, and produce sectors of Pakistan leave various implications for the future of the country’s irrigation efforts. 

Key Words: Pakistan, Water, Irrigation, Indus Waters Treaty, India


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