Karachi: The Sindh cabinet has finalised the Sindh Water Act 2020 to impose taxes on the commercial use of ground and surface water in the province, a news source reported. The decision follows a court order after disbanding of the provincial commission on water and sanitation.
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah chaired the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The meeting decided on the formation of a committee, working under his supervision. It would have a task to review the recently finalised laws.
The committee will include the provincial chief secretary, ministers of local government, irrigation, public health and agriculture as members. The members will review the law before sending it to the law department for further vetting.
An official concerned revealed that the committee would have the authority to form a separate body for regulating the matters of groundwater. He said that many bottled water companies in the province were extracting this.
Meanwhile, a local government official revealed that the cabinet meeting proposed an initial tax of PKR 1 per litre on groundwater. He added that the government would distribute the revenue collected among the water and sewerage boards across the province.
On the other hand, WaterAid Pakistan Policy and Advocacy Manager Nadeem Ahmed has urged the government to impose taxes on tube wells and local authorities to monitor the water usage. He added that people were extracting a large amount of water from these tube wells. He claimed that people were now running tube wells throughout the day owing to installation of solar powered systems.
Furthermore, Ahmed stated that the per capita availability of water was more than 5,200 cubic metres at the time of independence. He said that now this availability stands below 1,000 cubic metres per head, which makes Pakistan a water-scarce country.