The project combines technical assistance to the Government of Balochistan to lay the foundation for a gradual transition to IWRM with targeted investments to support implementation of IWRM approaches within a framework of community mobilization and participation in the Nari and Porali basins.

The Project will support implementation of the 2006 IWRM Policy of the Government of Balochistan. The key issues identified in this Policy that will be supported through this project include:

(i) establishing adequate and reliable water data,
(ii) improving coordination between the water and agricultural sectors,
(iii) adopting an integrated approach to project formulation and to project Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E),
(iv) improving irrigation water use efficiency,
(v) improving groundwater recharge through watershed management and water conservation, and
(vi) ensuring effective participation of water users and other stakeholders in water management.

These will provide a solid foundation to guide longer-term reforms, a road-map for which will be developed during the Project.

The project will support investments in two of the eighteen basins in Balochistan – Nari and Porali river basins. These river basins have been selected based on the current water resources development status and future development opportunities identified through prefeasibility studies, along with the consideration of security issues and a balanced approach to extending development support to different tribal groups. These choices also reflect a desire to avoid the very arid and less populated western desert basins and avoid the canal-irrigated basins, but to focus on basins dominated by a mixture of perennial and spate irrigation and groundwaterdependent higher value agriculture. Nari River Basin (69,200 km2) flows towards the Indus but terminates in inland lakes and wetlands. Groundwater in the basin is over-exploited in many areas, but considerable opportunities exist for development of surface water resources. The Porali River Basin (11,600 km2) that flows south to the coast and terminates in Miani Hor – a Ramsar-listed mangrove lagoon. Groundwater is also over-exploited in the Porali basin but surface water resource development is relatively limited.The selection of two priority river basins is the first step in a long-term process of province-wide water sector strengthening and reform. Tackling two basins also provides an opportunity to learn from sequential implementation and will provide some flexibility to reprioritize and expand interventions during implementation should the security situation change significantly.