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Water

Five myths about water in Pakistan

William Young's picture



Persistent myths, which can misguide policy, are barriers to improving water security for the people of Pakistan. Here are five:

First, this problem of water security is often presented as one of water scarcity. But Pakistan is a water-rich country – only 35 countries have more renewable water. It is true that measured for each person, Pakistan is approaching a widely recognized scarcity level of 1000 cubic meters each year. But there are 32 countries that have less water for each person and most of these countries are much wealthier and use less water for each person. Pakistan needs to shift its focus from scarcity to managing water demand and producing more from each drop of water. It needs to make water allocation more efficient and fair, and offer incentives that reflect how scarce water is to encourage wise use.

From potato eaters to world leaders in agriculture

Priti Kumar's picture
 Raj Ganguly
Matching sheer ingenuity with technological prowess, the Netherlands (pop: 17 millions; about the size of Haryana state in India) today is one of the world’s most agriculturally productive countries, feeding people across the globe from its meager land area. Photo credit: Raj Ganguly

Van Gogh’s famous painting of Potato Eaters depicts a family of poor peasants seated around a dinner table eating their staple fare. The artist confessed that this work is deeply reflective of the hard work that Dutch peasants have to do to earn a bare meal. Van Gogh frequently painted the harvest and often compared the season to his own art, and how he would someday reap all that he had put into it. 

Since those difficult times in the late 1800s, the tiny country of the Netherlands (pop: 17 mill; about the size of Haryana state in India) has come a long way. Matching sheer ingenuity with technological prowess, the Netherlands today is one of the world’s most agriculturally productive countries, feeding people across the globe from its meager land area. Indeed, this small nation is now the world’s second-largest exporter of agri-food products including vegetables, fruits, potatoes, meat, milk and eggs; some 6% of world trade in fruits and 16% in vegetables comes from the Netherlands.

But how exactly did they do this? In October 2017, we went to find out. Our team - of World Bank and Indian government officials working on agribusiness, rural transformation and watershed development projects – sought to learn from Dutch experience and identify opportunities for future collaboration. We met farmer cooperatives, private companies, growers’ associations, academia, social enterprises, and government agencies, and gained fascinating insights.

Primarily, we found that a convenient location, a conducive climate, investments in high-quality infrastructure, high-caliber human capital, an enabling business environment and professionally-run private companies have provided the Netherlands with that unmistakable competitive edge:

Maximizing agricultural output with minimum land and labor

Located conveniently as a gateway to Europe, the Netherlands acts as a transit hub for agricultural produce, importing Euro 4.6 billion worth of produce from 107 countries, adding value to these products through collection, re(packaging) and processing, and exporting almost double that value - Euro 7.9 billion - to more than 150 nations. In 2014, Dutch growers had a turn-over of euro 2.9 billion in fruit and vegetables, produced with a minimum of land and labor - only 55,000 hectares and just 40,000 people - indicating a heavy reliance on automation.

Towards a clean India

Guangzhe CHEN's picture

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014, it marked the beginning of the world’s largest ever sanitation drive. Now, a 2017 survey by the Quality Council of India finds that access to toilets by rural households has increased to 62.45 per cent, and that 91 per cent of those who have a toilet, use it. Given India’s size and diversity, it is no surprise that implementation varies widely across states. Even so, the fact that almost every Indian now has sanitation on the mind is a victory by itself.

 Guy Stubbs

Achieving a task of this magnitude will not be easy. Bangladesh took 15 years to become open defecation free (ODF), while Thailand took 40 years to do so. Meeting sanitation targets is not a one-off event. Changing centuries-old habits of open defecation is a complex and long-term undertaking.

Horticulture offers hope for growth and jobs in rural Afghanistan

World Bank Afghanistan's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Until the late 1960s, Afghanistan was a major exporter of horticulture products, particularly dried fruits. Photo Credit: World Bank

Afghanistan is struggling with unemployment and poor economic performance because of drastic reductions in foreign aid and continued social instability. While efforts have been made to improve the private sector, including several sectors like mining and manufacturing, the gains have been modest as Afghanistan remains beset by conflict and instability.
 
Yet investments in agriculture, particularly horticulture, have produced tangible returns as unique weather conditions are favorable to growing produce that are in-demand in local and regional markets. 

An example can be found in Mullah Durani, a farmer from Mohammad Ali Kas village in Qarghaee district in eastern Laghman Province, who converted his field to growing grapes for fruit consumption in 2015 that is paying off in creating jobs and boosting income. “My land has generated eight times higher returns, while I can use the local workforce on my own farm instead of sending them to cities to work for others,” says Mullah Durani. “I have also been able to create seasonal jobs for a number of villagers during harvesting.”
 
The key to his success, he says, was choosing the right variety of grapes instead of grains. “My recently established vineyard produces grapes at a time when there are almost no domestic fruits in the market and in return, I get higher market prices,” he points out. “This year I sold about $4,000 worth of grapes from 2,000 square meters of land.”
 
By converting his field to growing grapes, Mullah Durani received investment support and technical assistance from the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock under its National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP). The project is funded by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and helps farmers in selected districts adopt better production practices.

باغداری روزنهٔ برای انکشاف و اشتغال زایی در روستا های افغانستان

World Bank Afghanistan's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
تا سال های ۱۹۶۰ افغانستان یکی از بزرگترین صادر کنندگان محصولات زراعتی بخصوص میوه جات خشک در منطقه محسوب میگردید. عکس: بانک جهانی

افغانستان در حال حاضر با مشکلات ناشی از میزان بلند بیکاری و رشد ضعیف اقتصادی  مواجه بوده که عوامل عمدهٔ آن کاهش در کمکهای خارجی و ادامهٔ نا امنی ها محسوب میگردد. با آنکه تلاش ها به منظور بهبود و انکشاف سکتورهای مختلف  بویژه معادن و صنایع تولیدی همواره صورت گرفته است، اما دست اورد ها ضعیف به نظر میرسند، زیرا مولدین داخلی  باید تلاشهای  زیادی انجام دهند، تا با بازیگران منطقوی و بین المللی که صنعت خود را در جریان سالهای که افغانستان درگیر جنگ و بی ثباتی بود تقویت کرده اند، رقابت کرده بتوانند.  علل الرغم آن، سرمایه گذاری در سکتور زراعت، بخصوص در بخش باغداری، توانسته است نتایج ملموس را برای دهاقین و باغداران افغان به ارمغان بیآورد، زیرا  شرایط اقلیمی افغانستان مساعد برای تولید محصولات زارعتی که  در بازار های محلی و منطقوی  تقاضا زیاد برایشان وجود دارد، میباشد.
 
نمونهٔ خوب این ادعا را میتوان در نزد ملا درانی، باشندهٔ قریه محمد علی کس، ولسوالی قرغه یی در ولایت لغمان دریافت کرد. در سال ۱۳۹۵،  وی مزرعهٔ خود را با غرص تاک های انگور به تاکستان تبدیل کرد که در نتیجه درآمدش بیشتر و سبب ایجاد فرصت های شغلی برخلاف انتظار او  گردید. ملا درانی میگوید: "تاکستان من از یکسو درآمد هشت مرتبه بیشتر از گذشته را برایم بوجود آورده و از جانب دیگر، به جای اینکه اعضای خانواده من به شهر رفته برای دیگران کار کنند، امروز همهٔ شان در زمین خود به باغداری مصروف هستند." وی همچنان میگوید که: "از طریق باغداری، من توانسته ام، تا برای سایر باشنده گان قریه نیز فرصت های کاری موسومی را در وقت جمع آوری حاصلات بوجود آورم».
 
به گفتهٔ ملا درانی، موفقیت وی در اینست که انواع درست انگور را انتخاب کرده و آنرا بر کشت غله جات ترجیح داده است. "حاصل تاک های انگور زمین من بخاطر درآمد بیشتر دارد که  حاصلات آن زمانی  اماده میشود که در بازار عرضه دیگر میوجات داخلی  تقریبآ وجود ندارد، که در نتیجه ، انگور به نرخ بلند بفروش میرسد." ملا درانی در رابطه به میزان درآمد از حاصلات انگور امسال میگوید: "من امسال به ارزش ۴ هزار دالر امریکایی درآمد را از بابت فروش انگور که مساحت  باغ آن حدود ۲۰۰۰ متر مربع میباشد بدست آوردم. "
 
در احداس این باغ انگور کمکهای مالی و تخنیکی را ملا درانی از وزارت زراعت، آبیاری و مالداری از طریق برنامه ملی باغداری و مالداری بدست اورده است. این برنامه توسط صندوق بازسازی افغانستان تمویل میگردد که هدف آن کمک با دهاقین ولسوالی های انتخاب شده، در معرفی روشهای خوب تولیدی میباشد. 

بڼوالي د افغانستان په کلیو کې د پرمختګ او کارموندنې لار

World Bank Afghanistan's picture
Also available in: English | دری
افغانستان تر ۱۹۶۰کلونو پورې د سیمې د نورو هېوادنو په مینځ کې د کرنیزو محصولات په تیره بیا د وچو میوه جاتو یو تر ټولو ستر صادرونکۍ هیواد بلل کیدل. انځور:  نړیوال بانک

اوسمهال افغانستان د وزګارۍ له لوړې کچې اود کمزوری اقتصادی ودی د ستونزه سره مخامخ دی، چې د دې ستونزو ستر لاملونه د بهرنیو مرستو کمښت او نا امني ګڼل کیږي. که څه هم د بیلابیلو سکټورونو په ځانګړې توګه د کانونو او تولیدي صنایعو د ودې او پرمختګ لپاره هڅې شوي، خو پایلې یې کمزوري تر سترګو کیږي؛ ځکه کورني تولید کوونکي باید تر دې هم زیاتې هڅې او هلې ځلې وکړي، څو وتوانیږي، چې له هغو سیمه ییزو او نړیوالو لوبغاړو سره سیالۍ وکړي، کوم چې د افغانستان د جګړو او بې ثباتي په کلونو کې یې خپل صنعت او اقتصاد پیاوړی کړی دی.
 
 سربیره پر دې ستونزو د کرنې په سکټور کې په ځانګړې ډول د بڼوالي په برخه کې پانګونه توانیدلې، چې د افغان کروندګر او بڼوالانو لپاره د پام وړ پایلې ولري، ځکه د افغانستان اقلیمي شرایط د هغه کرنیزو محصولاتو د تولید لپاره برابر او مساعد دي، چې په کورني او سیمه ییزو بازارونو کې ورته ډیره تقاضا یا غوښتنې شتون لري.
 
د دې ادعا ښه بیلګه د لغمان ولایت د قرغه یي ولسوالۍ د محمد علي کس د کلي له اوسیدونکي ملا دراني څخه کولای شوو، ومومو. نوموړي په ۱۳۹۵ کال کې خپله کرونده د انګور د تاکونو په کینولو سره په تاکستان بدل کړ، چې په پایله کې یې عواید زیات او د هغه د تمې پر خلاف د زیاتو کاري فرصتونو د رامنځته کولو لامل شوو. ملا دراني وايي: " زما د انګورو بڼ له یوې خوا زما د عوایدو کچه د تېر په پرتله اتې ځلې زیات کړ او له بلې خوا؛ د دې پرځای چې زما د کورنۍ غړي ښار ته لاړ شي او د نورو لپاره کار وکړي، نن ټول په خپله ځمکه کې په بڼوالي کې بوخت دي. " هغه همدارنګه وايي:" د بڼوالي له لارې زه توانیدلی یم، چې د کلي نورو اوسیدونکو لپاره د حاصلاتو د ټولونې پر مهال موسومي کاري فرصتونه هم رامنځته کړم".
 
د ملا دراني په وینا، د نوموړي بریا په دې کې ده، چې د غوره انګورو ډولونه یې  دغله جاتو د کښت پر ځای غوره ګڼلي. " زما د ځمکې د انګورو د تاکونو حاصلات له دې امله زیات عواید لري، ځکه چې د هغو حاصلات هغه مهال رسیږي، چې په بازار کې نورې کورنۍ میوې موجودې نه وي، چې په پایله کې زما انګور په لوړه بیه پلورل کیږي. " ملا دراني د سږ کال د انګورو حاصلاتو د عوایدو کچې په اړه وايي: " سږ کال ما د انګورو له خرڅلاور څخه د ۴ زره امریکايي ډالرو په ارزښت عواید لرل، چې د بڼ پراخوالی یې شاوخوا ۲۰۰۰ متره مربع دی. "
 
نوموړي د انګورو د دې باغ په جوړولو کې د کرنې، اوبو لګولو او مالدارۍ وزارت څخه د بڼوالي او مالدارۍ د ملي برنامې له لارې مالي او تخنیکي مرستې ترلاسه کړي دي. دا برنامه د افغانستان د بیارغونې د صندوق لخوا تمویل کیږي، چې موخه یې د ټاکل شویو ولسوالیو له کروندګرو سره مرسته ده، څو هغوی ته غوره تولیدي لارې ور وپیژندل شي.

Towards a cleaner Bangladesh: Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene for all

Qimiao Fan's picture
 
 The World Bank
Bangladesh has made progress in recent years in the field known as WASH -water, sanitation access, and hygiene. Image courtesy: The World Bank

Community-Led Total Sanitation might be the greatest Bangladeshi export you’ve never heard of.  In countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, a consensus has emerged that the best approach is Community-Led Total Sanitation, which is widely credited with changing people’s behavior around the world to no longer defecate in the open, which has greatly improved global health.

Bangladeshis can take plenty of pride in these far-away accomplishments. That’s because it is Northern Bangladesh - more specifically the Mosmoil village in Rajshahi district - that pioneered this approach seventeen years ago. Its success at home led to its widespread adoption abroad.

Safe drinking water is a right and proper sanitation is dignity of the citizens. Proper management of freshwater ecosystems and access to safe water and sanitation are essential to human health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. Water and sanitation are at the core of sustainable development critical to the survival of people and the planet. Goal 6 of Agenda 2030 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.

The ‘Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment’ by World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) reported that in 2012 about 40% (2.6 billion) of the world’s population was without access to safe water. Approximately 4 billion cases of diarrhea each year causes 2.2 million deaths, and majority of them are children under the age of five. This situation in Bangladesh is also challenging. A study by Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) wing of the World Bank reveals that Bangladesh incurred a loss of Tk295.48 billion in 2010 due to inadequate sanitation, which is 6.3% of the GDP.
 
Indeed, there is much to emulate in Bangladesh’s remarkable progress in recent years in the field known as WASH -water, sanitation access, and hygiene. Today, 98 percent of the population gets drinking water from a technologically improved source – water which comes from a manmade structure– up from 79 percent in 1990.  Bangladesh also largely succeeded in providing access to basic sanitation. It is estimated that only three percent of the population practice open defecation, down from 34 percent in 1990, thanks to behavior change campaigns and the building of many new toilets. 

But, much has yet to be done. Bangladesh has still a long way to go to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of providing universal access to clean water and sustainable sanitation by 2030. The World Bank recently completed a study, the WASH Poverty Diagnostic, which examines the remaining challenges in ensuring access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. The findings are startling.

How does Bhutan’s Economy Look?

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Bhutan Economic Update
Bhutan has maintained solid economic performance to date in 2017 but delays in hydropower construction may affect its economic outlook with growth expected to slow to just under 7 percent in 2018. 

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world. Its annual economic growth of 7.5 percent on average between 2006 and 2015, placed the country 13th of 118 countries, compared to the average global growth rate of 4.4 percent.

This growth has been shared by a majority of Bhutanese, with extreme poverty dropping from 25 percent in 2003 to 2 percent in 2012, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity). This is among the rate in South Asia and compares favourably to the regional poverty rate of 19 percent. Equally impressive improvements were made in access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership.

The recent developments on strong lending growth, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves show that Bhutan maintains a solid and stable growth in the first half of 2017. Gross international reserves have been increasing since 2012, when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage. Reserves exceed $1 billion, equivalent to 10 months of imports of goods and services in mid-2017 which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks. This is also very much in line with the requirement spelled in the 2008 Constitution which outlines minimum reserve requirements. The Bhutanese ngultrum, pegged to the Indian rupee, have been stable or slightly appreciating against the U.S. dollar.

Despite recent solid growth and macroeconomic stability, we need to carefully monitor its Development. According to the latest Bhutan Economic Update, the hydropower construction and the implementation of the 2016 Economic Development Policy are expected to support this solid growth during the next few years. However, with confirmed delays in the completion of two hydropower projects, the contribution of the hydropower sector to growth will be lower than the originally projected. Therefore, the World Bank revised down its growth forecasts in 2019/20 by a few percentage points to 7.6 percent, still among the fastest in the world.

When in the eye of a storm….

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Abandoned fishing boats lay on the banks of the dried Siyambalankkatuwa reservoir in Sri Lanka's Puttalam District, Aug. 10, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Amantha Perera
Abandoned fishing boats lay on the banks of the dried Siyambalankkatuwa reservoir in Sri Lanka's Puttalam District, Aug. 10, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Amantha Perera
This year, yet again, flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains came and receded. Meanwhile, this year alone, more than one million people have been hard hit by the worst drought in 40 years.
 
The media, with few exceptions, have moved on to other topics and a sense of calm pervades. 
 
We are in the eye of the storm -- that misleading lull before mother nature unleashes her fury once again. 
 
In Sri Lanka alone, costs from natural disasters, losses from damage to housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and from relief are estimated at LKR 50 billion (approx. USD 327 million).  The highest annual expected losses are from floods (LKR 32 billion), cyclones or high winds (LKR 11 billion), droughts (LKR 5.2 billion) and landslides (LKR 1.8 billion). This is equivalent to 0.4 percent of GDP or 2.1 percent of government expenditure. (#SLDU2017). Floods and landslides in May 2016 caused damages amounting to US$572 million.   
 
These numbers do not paint the full picture of impact for those most affected, who lost loved ones, irreplaceable belongings, or livestock and more so for those who are back to square one on the socio-economic ladder.
 
Even more alarming, these numbers are likely to rise as droughts and floods triggered by climate change will become more frequent and severe. And the brief respite in between will only get shorter, leaving less time to prepare for the hard days to come.
 
Therefore, better planning is even more necessary. Sri Lanka, like many other countries has started to invest in data that highlights areas at risk, and early warning systems to ensure that people move to safer locations with speed and effect.
 
Experience demonstrates that the eye of the storm is the time to look to the future, ready up citizens and institutions in case of extreme weather.
 
Now is the time to double down on preparing national plans to respond to disasters and build resilience. 

It’s the time to test our systems and get all citizens familiar with emergency drills. But, more importantly, we need to build back better and stronger.  In drought-affected areas, we can’t wait for the rains and revert to the same old farming practices. It’s time to innovate and stock up on critical supplies and be prepared when a disaster hits.
 
It’s the time to plan for better shelters that are safe and where people can store their hard-earned possessions.
 
Mobilizing and empowering communities is essential. But to do this, we must know who is vulnerable – and whether they should stay or move.  Saving lives is first priority, no doubt. Second, we should also have the necessary systems and equipment to respond with speed and effect in times of disasters. Third, a plan must be in place to help affected families without much delay.
 
Fortunately, many ongoing initiatives aim to do just that.

And a river runs through it

Atul Agarwal's picture

Integrating the Brahmaputra’s innumerable ferries into Assam’s wider transport network

Anyone who has visited Assam cannot help but be struck by the mighty Brahmaputra. The river straddles the state like a colossus, coursing through its heart, and severing it two - the northern and southern banks. During the monsoon, so vast is the river’s expanse - almost 20 km in parts - that you cannot see the other side. So fearsome are its waters that the Brahmaputra is India’s only river with a masculine name; all the others have feminine appellations. Yet, just four bridges, including India’s longest bridge that was recently inaugurated on its tributary the Lohit - and one more under construction - span the state’s entire 900 km stretch of river.
 
Given this formidable natural barrier, most of Assam’s towns have developed on the river’s southern flank, where the plains are wider. With little connectivity, the northern side remains cut off from the mainstream, and is largely underdeveloped.


 
What’s more, the small communities living on the river’s hundred or so inhabited islands remain isolated. It can be quite frustrating to see a school or a medical center on the other side and not be able to access it! Only Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island and an administrative district by itself, supports schools and some form of medical facilities for its more than 100,000 residents.

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