Project information document (pid) appraisal stage report No.: Ab1946

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Report No.: AB1946

Project Name

Balochistan Small Scale Irrigation Project




Irrigation and drainage (100%)

Project ID




Implementing Agency

Environment Category

[ ] A [X] B [ ] C [ ] FI [ ] TBD (to be determined)

Safeguard Classification

[ ] S1 [X] S2 [ ] S3 [ ] SF [ ]

Date PID Prepared

February 28, 2008

Date of Appraisal Authorization

November 22, 2005

Date of Board Approval

February 26, 2008

  1. Country and Sector Background

Balochistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, covering 44 percent of the country’s area, but it has the lowest population density in the country with a population of only 7.8 million. Balochistan is Pakistan’s least developed province; the number of people living below the poverty line in Balochistan is significantly higher than the national average. As in greater Pakistan, agriculture is the mainstay of Balochistan’s economy, accounting for some 60 percent of the province’s GDP and employing around 67 percent of the labor force. Both crops and livestock are critical to rural livelihoods, and they contribute about 62 percent and 38 percent of gross farm income, respectively. The most important products are millet, wheat, apples, vegetables, grapes, milk and meat.

Balochistan is unique in terms of the different types of irrigated agriculture being practiced and the issues related to sustainable use of scare water resources (annual average rainfall is less than 200 mm). Until 1997, the irrigated area in Balochistan was about 1.7 million ha (about 5 percent of the total land area of 350,000 square kilometers), of which 0.83 million ha (50 percent) was irrigated by perennial irrigation, and the balance by either flood diversion or spate irrigation (sailaba) or by water harvesting (kushkhaba) systems. During the drought period (1998-2004) the irrigated area shrank by more than 50 percent, which negatively impacted livelihood patterns, earning activities, and the natural resource base. Thus, better management of these scarce resources remains a critical issue for rural development and poverty reduction in Balochistan.
The Pishin Lora Basin (PLB) is a major river basin in Balochistan (16,928 sq. km with 10 subbasins) spread over five districts—Pishin, Killa, Abdullah, Quetta, Mastung, and Kalat—with a total population of about 1.2 million. Like the rest of the province, drought has taken its toll on the livelihood patterns of the local population due to drying up of the irrigation and potable water resources – surface and ground – degradation of range lands, reduction in agriculture production, and devastation of economic activities as a whole.
A number of issues underpinning the present water crisis will be addressed by this project:

  • Extended Drought and its Impact on the Natural Resource Base. Balochistan has been under severe drought conditions since 1998. The long dry spell has taken its toll on the livelihood patterns of local population as irrigation and potable water resources have dried up. Water availability in the Bund Khushdil Khan (BKK) reservoir (the major reservoir in the region) was drastically reduced during the drought. In 1954-61, the peak season, 2000 hectares in the BKK command area were under surface irrigation. That amount has dwindled to about 350 hectares now. The surface and groundwater availability decreased, rangelands degraded, agricultural activities significantly reduced, and economic activities were severely curtailed. The poor and marginalized sections of the society were affected the most.

  • Poor Watershed Management. Local communities urgently need to change their pattern of land and associated resource use to improve the long-term sustainability of the environment and their livelihoods. All watersheds are in a very poor state and are mostly degraded. The government departments have made some efforts in the basin to improve conditions, but due to the isolated nature of the activities, appreciable impact has not been observed. These efforts need continuity and a longer-term vision. Intensive activities are needed in the area to rehabilitate the watersheds in close collaboration with the Agriculture, Irrigation, and Forest departments and local communities. Moreover, some of the existing irrigation systems are affected by silting and erosion.

  • Inefficient Use of Water by Agriculture. Irrigation practices followed in the province are inefficient. Orchards in particular are irrigated by flooding entire fields, which reduces water use efficiency to below 30 percent. The water conveyance channels from source to the farms are mostly unlined causing seepage losses of up to 45-50 percent. Data collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from a bubbler irrigation demonstration project installed on two hectares of land near Quetta estimated the water use efficiency of farmers’ flood irrigation practices to be below 20 percent. Bubbler irrigation increased the efficiency to 90 percent.

  • Depleting Groundwater Tables. In the absence of assured surface water supplies, people depend heavily on the groundwater to meet their requirements. According to recent studies (2006) under the Balochistan Resource Management Program (BRMP),1 the number of tubewells swelled from 8,063 in 1985 to 31,770 in 2002-03. The continued over-pumping of groundwater has depleted freshwater resources in many areas. This problem has become more acute in the recent years due to the extended drought. The most affected areas lie in the upland Balochistan and are particularly concentrated in the Pishin Lora Basin (PLB). It is estimated that the depletion of groundwater is taking place at rates exceeding three meters per year in many places. Nevertheless, the winter rains of 2004-05 and recently 2006-07 have led to considerably rapid localized recovery of some of these systems that depend on shallow alluvial aquifers.

  • Institutional Weakness and Lack of Community Involvement. Poor governance, low institutional capacity, and lack of political will and commitment by the public sector to address the water crisis in a planned and systematic way are common water issues in Balochistan. GoB departments lack well-qualified, trained, and experienced personnel, and existing staff are occupied with the operation and maintenance of current schemes. Thus, little capacity exists to conduct technical surveys and holistically plan and design new projects. Moreover, irrigation service delivery is handled in isolation between the agriculture and irrigation sectors At the community level, there is little interaction or information exchange among communities and the government on the options available to them to increase water productivity in a long term basis.

  1. Objectives

The Balochistan Small-scale Irrigation Project (BSSIP) will support efforts by the Government of Balochistan (GOB) to improve the management of scarce water resources in the Pishin Lora Basin (PLB) by reducing the overall impact of the present water crisis. Project activities are designed to recognize the importance of direct participation of water users and other stakeholders. Key indicators include (i) increased surface water availability and reduced groundwater depletion; (ii) increased water productivity through a combination of engineering, management, and agricultural measures; and (iii) expanded local capacity and participation of farmers to implement similar schemes and formulate plans for sustainable water resources development and watershed management.

  1. Rationale for Bank Involvement

The Bank can use its global knowledge and experience in the water resources sector to assist GoB in its efforts to properly manage its water and land resources and build capacity among its farmers and water professionals. The technical assistance support is particularly important for watershed restoration and on farm development. To manage the scarce water resources a conjunctive use of surface and groundwater is needed. The Bank’s experience implementing similar projects in Balochistan—such as the Balochistan Community Irrigation and Agriculture Project (BCIAP)—provided valuable experiences and it was satisfactory at its completion.. This places the Bank in a prime position to help GoB achieve its objectives.

  1. Project Description

The Balochistan Small-scale Irrigation Project (BSSIP) will support efforts by the GoB to improve the management of scarce water resources in the Pishin Lora Basin (PLB). Project activities are designed to recognize the importance of direct participation of water users and other stakeholders. Key indicators include: (i) increased surface water availability and reduced groundwater depletion; (ii) increased water productivity through a combination of engineering, management, and agricultural measures; and (iii) expanded local capacity and participation of farmers to implement similar schemes and formulate plans for sustainable water resources development and watershed management.

The project will initially focus in the PLB in the northern part of Balochistan, and it will have three components: (a) partial restoration of water storage capacity in the Bund Khushdil Khan (BKK); (b) development of small-scale irrigation schemes in the PLB; and (c) institutional strengthening and capacity building of the Irrigation and Power Department (IPD), water management institutions, and farmer and community organizations and further studies and preparation activities for the next phase. Improved watershed and rangeland management and on-farm water management, including introduction of high efficiency irrigation systems, will be integral components.

Component A: Partial Restoration of Water Storage Capacity of the Bund Khushdil Khan Reservoir – US$ 10.80 million

This component aims to help in restoring the hydrological balance in the basin by partially restoring the storage capacity of the BKK reservoir, facilitating the recharge of the aquifer, and improving conveyance efficiency and water management efficiency at the farm level. It will raise the BKK level, construct a protective “encroacher’s bund”, remodel the feeder canals, repair the headworks, repair the outlet channel, and initiate on-farm water management (OFWM) activities in the BKK command area. Alternatives to improving conveyance and on-farm introduction of new technologies will be offered to farmers (estimated 400 ha of high efficiency irrigation systems). The BKK watershed will also be the pilot watershed basin for planning, implementing, and monitoring the different structural and non-structural measures to help rehabilitate the watershed and rangelands. A total of 8,165 ha are to be treated. This component will generate on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities in the command areas of the BKK.

Component B: Small-scale Irrigation Schemes –US$ 9.66 million

This component will improve the present operation of approximately 15 small-scale irrigation schemes (SSIS) in the Pishin Lora Basin. Activities will include improving existing karezes, providing flood protection, lining irrigation channels, and providing associated structures such as flow division and small storage tanks. These schemes are similar to those undertaken in previous Bank projects, where farmers have demonstrated that they can take full control and maintain these systems. This component will also provide greater focus on farmer participation through on-the-job training to develop skills for SSIS operation and maintenance. Finally, this component will include watershed and rangeland activities and introduce on-farm water management (OFWM) in the project areas and beyond. OFWM practices will focus on introducing and propagating high efficiency irrigation systems and helping farmers conserve precious groundwater through proper conveyance systems and efficient use. The project will require that beneficiaries contribute 10 percent to the capital costs2 of the identified SSIS and 100 percent to the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of all development works.

Component C: Institutional Capacity Building, Further Studies and Preparation of the Next Phase – US$ 4.54 million

This component will enhance the technical, administrative, and managerial capacity of the Irrigation and Power Department (IPD) and other water management affiliated departments through training, technical advisory services, and appropriate study tours on water management. The project will also support formation and capacity building of Farmers Organizations (FO) and Community Organizations (CO) to ensure they are participatory, inclusive, and well-governed, and that they are trained in activities such as restoration and management of watersheds and rangelands and in the implementation and operation and maintenance of irrigation schemes. Finally, this component will examine the potential for similar activities to be undertaken in other basins—such as, the Nara, Porali and Rakshan river basins—and prepare a feasibility report documenting key findings and costs. Lessons learned during implementation of the project will be reflected in the studies of future interventions in other basins in Balochistan.

  1. Financing





  1. Implementation

Partnership arrangements

The Asian Development Bank, with funding from the Royal Government of the Netherlands, is implementing a project called “Supporting Public Resource Management” (SPRM) in Balochistan with the IPD under the Balochistan Resource Management Programme. SPRM will support the implementation of the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Policy recently prepared by GoB. In particular, the SPRM will support further research and data analysis in key areas such as preparing management plans, cropping patterns in irrigated and non-irrigated areas, the potential for recharging the groundwater aquifers using techniques—such as delayed action dams, etc. The project will work in conjunction with these initiatives and maintain close coordination.

Institution and implementation arrangements
The Balochistan Irrigation and Power Department (IPD) will implement the BSSIP with one project implementation unit (PIU) for the Pishin Lora Basin, which will be located within the IPD. The PIU is responsible for promoting (a) strong community participation in planning, implementation and operation of all project activities and (b) efficient project implementation and sustainability after project completion.
Provincial level. An inter-departmental Project Steering Committee (PSC) for the Pishin Lora Basin has been established and will provide policy guidance and inter-agency coordination at the highest level. The Secretaries of IPD, Agriculture, Forest and Wildlife, Planning and Development, and Finance, representation from IUCN, and the Project Director (PD) will be invited to participate. The PD will be responsible for convening PSC meetings with the Additional Chief Secretary (Development) serving as Chairperson. The PSC will, inter alia, (i) approve policies aimed at realizing full project benefits; (ii) coordinate inputs from other government departments; (iii) approve annual work plans; (iv) approve key project outputs including all screening reports; and (v) monitor the project implementation progress. The PSC will meet at least once every three months
Project Implementation Unit. The Project PC-1, including staff and operating cost of a fully established PIU, was approved by the National Committee of the Working Party in January 2007. A full-time Project Director (PD) of the PIU, also the Secretary of the PSC, is a technical person from the IPD,3 who is responsible for overall coordination, monitoring, and management of the project. The PD will perform the functions of Secretary of the Steering Committee of the project.
The PD will be assisted by design and supervision consultants (DSC) who will have expertise and operational staff with skills in irrigation systems design and construction supervision, reservoir management, social mobilization, watershed and rangeland management, community development, groundwater management, irrigation and agronomy, cash crop agronomy (apples or grapes), environmental expertise, agricultural economics (monitoring and evaluation) and gender development.
Institutional Arrangements for Community Participation Early social mobilization and strengthening of appropriate institutions will be critical in ensuring success. The basic building block is the Community Organization (CO). The development of small-scale irrigation schemes will be a central theme for the CO, which will represent all the scheme beneficiaries who have agreed to participate in the development process. This will be referred to as the Farmer Organization (FO). For watershed and range management interventions, communities will form Village Watershed Management Committees (VWMC) for effective community participation. The project will build capacity at the local level to ensure that CO/FO/VWMCs are participatory, inclusive, equitable and well governed, and that they will promote social cohesion and collective action. It is expected that they will carry out planning according to local needs; better share resources, especially water; reduce delivery costs, and ensure sustainable operations and maintenance with technical backstopping where required.
Community Support Groups (CSG), part of the design and supervision consultants, will reach out to communities to help them mobilize themselves and build social capital. Staffing would primarily comprise male and female social mobilizers with limited assistance from social development staff in the Community Irrigation Services Unit (CISU).4 CISU has been strengthened during the preparation phase of BSSIP, and it has been actively engaged in preparation of the Resetlement Action Plan, community awareness-raising, signing of Memoranda of Understanding with beneficiaries, and monitoring, FOs on SSIS.
The DSC will continue to work closely with CISU to facilitate and coordinate FO strengthening activities including information dissemination on better water management and agricultural practices to the community. The DSC will also be responsible for ongoing internal monitoring and evaluation of the social mobilization and participation component of the project.

Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes/results

The project will create an effective external monitoring and evaluation system to monitor project operational efficiency and effectiveness and to indicate when design adjustments or policy refinements are needed. The proposed monitoring and evaluation system will involve not only monitoring physical implementation, environmental, and other parameters as part of baseline and regular monitoring studies, but it will also develop a system of benchmarking from a performance viewpoint. The focus will be on qualitative social outcomes of participation in decision-making, equity, and improved livelihoods. These parameters would be monitored closely and reported in a usable and transparent manner.

A comprehensive socio-economic baseline was established during project preparation based on reconnaissance within the BKK command area and SSIS. Random sampling was undertaken of approximately 10 percent of resident households in the BKK command.5 The total number of households sampled was 279. For SSIS, which have a smaller population, every resident household was included in the survey. Subsequent project impacts will be monitored against this socio-economic baseline.
A project report will be prepared every six months and a copy submitted to the Bank. The report will present the status and results of program implementation, achievements and constraints. The main result indicators for this project will be:

  • Crop areas and yields;

  • Water productivity statistics (e.g. water losses);

  • Improved irrigation efficiency;

  • Groundwater table levels;

  • Income and employment;

  • FO/CO participation and inclusion;

  • Reduced soil erosion and runoff from watershed;

  • Improved ecological conditions of rangelands;

The PIU, with assistance from CISU social development staff, will monitor and evaluate safeguard policies, particularly resettlement compensation to determine if the prescribed procedures have been followed and whether the affected persons are at least no worse off than before the project.

Communities will actively participate in monitoring project activities, and a benchmarking system for FOs will be started. This will compare the basic indicators from the Benchmarking of Irrigation Systems developed by the International Program for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage (IPTRID) and the WB. A consulting firm will carry out an independent third party impact evaluation prior to project closure. This will analyze the impact of project implementation and assess the adequacy of design and implementation methodologies.

  1. Sustainability

Borrower commitment is evident from their willingness to: (a) finance feasibility studies of the BKK and SSIS; (b) initiate desilting works around the outlet structure with an initial investment of Rs. 4.0 million; (c) auhorize a project preparation facility in January 2006 to carry out the necessary design of the BKK and related works on other subprojects; (d) sign a Memorandum of Understanding with BKK beneficiaries and prepare a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP); and (e) start the bidding process for civil works of BKK and consulting services for project implementation (both ICB).

The project will support the creation and strengthening of institutions necessary for supporting comprehensive water management and continued adoption of improved management practices. Improving farmer managed water distribution networks and introducing timely and reliable water supplies for ensuring long-term improvements in water productivity.
The project will pilot modern technical and management approaches (e.g., intensification and diversification) which should yield benefits in terms of replicable expansion of these efforts in a learning framework. Continued extension services coupled with appropriate agriculture development policies will be critical to sustaining the benefits of agricultural intensification and diversification.

The development of rangelands as community resources will help improve, in a sustainable manner, the living standards of the poorer sections. The environmental and social benefits from adopting water saving management and improved cropping practices are expected to be significant and sustainable.

Community mobilization, training, and capacity building should yield direct and indirect long-term benefits to the communities. Developing linkages with local institutions capable of providing technical backstopping will assist communities as they evolve and strengthen.
The knowledge-base created should improve awareness, mainstream environmental and social development objectives, and create an enabling environment for sustained development.

  1. Lessons Learned from Past Operations in the Country/Sector

The Bank’s main lessons learned in irrigation development from previous experiences are that: (a) sustainability of interventions in the irrigation and drainage sector warrants intensive participation of farmers and development of partnerships with irrigation service providers6 for technical backstopping; (b) a phased and progressive approach to policy reforms is more likely to build ownership and ensure sustainability; and (c) a clear incentive structure should be established for farmer participation to reward commitment and prevent potential moral hazard.

The proposed project has incorporated these lessons in designing the overall project content. First, the project strongly supports the participation of farmers in the construction, operation and maintenance of the irrigation schemes supported by the project. Second, the strategy envisaged under the project is not conceived as a pilot, as it will initially cover a significant basin in Balochistan and move gradually to other basins. Thirdly, the farmers will actively participate in the watershed management activities and on-farm development to guarantee ownership. Strong technical support component will assist the introduction of modern agriculture technology and practices.
The lessons learned from the implementation of the BCIAP have also been reflected in the project design. The proposed project emphasizes community mobilization early in the project implementation so that the communities become more confident and are able to continue the envisaged activities beyond the project period. Moreover, cost-sharing arrangements like the ones used in BCIAP have also been made to ensure ownership. Selection of the schemes and the detailed studies required for implementation have been carried out for the first project year.
The Bank’s main lessons learned in effective management of groundwater resources are that: (a) economic incentives and energy pricing are fundamental; (b) sustainability is dependent on strong stakeholder participation; (c) the introduction of support programs and modern irrigation methods are necessary to support farm incomes and employment to reduce reliance on groundwater aquifers; (d) good governance through legal and regulatory institutions and enforcement of legislation are needed; and e) approaching groundwater management in a phased approach after experimenting and replicating what works. The proposed project will incorporate these lessons through the implementation of a groundwater management action plan with the close involvement of FO/COs and the IPD.

  1. Safeguard Policies (including public consultation)



Environmental Assessment (OP 4.01, BP 4.01, GP 4.01


Natural Habitat (OP 4.04, BP 4.04, GP 4.04)


Forestry (OP 4.36, GP 4.36)


Pest Management (OP 4.09)


Cultural Property (OPN 11.03)


Indigenous People (OD 4.20)


Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12, BP 4.12) (OD 4.30)


Safety of Dams (OP 4.37, BP 4.37)


Projects in International Waters (OP 7.50, BP 7.50)


Projects in Disputed Areas (OP 7.60, BP 7.60)


  1. List of Factual Technical Documents

  1. Contact point

Contact: Manuel Contijoch Escontria

Title: Sr Water Resources Spec.

Tel: (202) 473-3919

Fax: (202) 522-2420


  1. For more information contact:

The InfoShop

The World Bank

1818 H Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20433

Telephone: (202) 458-5454

Fax: (202) 522-1500


1 The Technical Assistance Project entitled, “Supporting Public Resource Management in Balochistan”, is being implemented by the ADB with the support of the Government of Balochistan under the ADB funded, Balochistan Resource Management Programme. The TA is financed by the Royal Government of the Netherlands.

2 Cash contributions will be equal to 2 percent of the capital cost of scheme and labour contributions will be 8 percent of the capital cost of scheme.

3 The Project Director was approved by the Chief Minister (Balochistan) in March 2007 and is of Basic Pay Scale (BPS) Grade 19.

4 This unit was established in 1999 as the social mobilization arm of the IPD. Its tasks include registering Farmer Organizations under the Balochistan Community Irrigation Farmer Organization (CIFO) Regulations (under the BIDA Act of April 2000). The Unit has regulated and monitored FO performance under the BCIAP; however, since the closure of the project in 2002 and due to shortage of funds, the Unit lost some of its capacity with eight professional and seven support staff, but little else in terms of logistical support.

5 The technique allows selection of a sample from population with equal interval. It was decided to consider every house as a sampling unit. The 10 percent sample size means selection of one house in a sample after regular interval of 10 houses. In all villages a substantial number of households are temporary settlers mainly tenant farmers or laborers. They are not permanent settlers of villages and are not landowners. They usually live for shorter periods and work as tenants at will and were excluded from the baseline as non representative of the entire population.

6 These include the public sector and private sector NGOs and private limited companies.

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