Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP)
Environmental and Social Assessment
Directorate General Agriculture (Water Management), Agriculture Department
Government of Punjab, Lahore
The provincial government of the Punjab, Pakistan, through its Directorate General Agriculture (Water Management), Agriculture Department, is planning to undertake the Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP) in various parts of the Province, and seeking the World Bank assistance for this purpose. In line with the prevailing legislation in the Country, and WB safeguard policies, an environmental and social assessment (ESA) of the project has been carried out. This document presents the report of this assessment.
The present study was conducted using a standard methodology prescribed by national and international agencies. Various phases of the study included screening, scoping, data collection and compilation, stakeholder consultations, impact assessment, and report compilation.
The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (PEPA 1997) requires the proponents of every development project in the country to conduct an environmental assessment and submit its report to the relevant environmental protection agency.
In addition to the above, the World Bank Operational Policy 4.01 (OP 4.01) requires that environmental and social assessment be carried out before commencing projects being proposed for the Bank’s funding.
The proposed Project aims to improve the productivity of the irrigation activities in the Province. Improved water productivity will translate into greater agricultural output per unit of water used, and will be achieved through improved physical delivery efficiency, irrigation practices, crop diversification and effective application of inputs. The project’s objectives would contribute to increased agricultural production, employment and incomes, higher living standards and positive environmental outcomes.
The direct beneficiaries of Project would be about 650,000 farm families or about 4.5 million people all over the Punjab Province.
The key components of the Project include: i) installation of high efficiency irrigation systems; ii) strengthening of laser land leveling services in private sector; iii) improvement of water courses in canal command and non-canal commanded areas; and iv) adoption and promotion of modern irrigation technologies and practices.
As part of the present study, various project alternatives and the associated environmental as well as social aspects were also analyzed. These included ‘no-project’ alternative, alternative methods of irrigation, alternative land leveling methods, alternatives for on-farm water conservation, and alternatives for project implementation mechanisms. The ‘no-project’ alternative is not acceptable because it would lead to continued wasteful usage of irrigation water; the irrigation and land leveling methods proposed under the Project would lead to greater water-use efficiency; and the selected implementation mechanism would ensure greater farmer participation and ownership.
Description of the Environment
The Punjab Province is located south of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, the Islamabad Capital Territory, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK); southwest of the Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir; west of the Indian States of Punjab and Rajasthan; north-northeast of the Sindh Province; and east-northeast of the Balochistan Province.
Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province having an area of 205,344 km2 (79,284 sq miles) after Balochistan and is located at the north-western edge of the geologic Indian plate in South Asia. The capital and largest city is Lahore which was the historical capital of the wider Punjab region. Other important cities include Multan, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. Undivided Punjab is home to six rivers, of which five flow through Pakistani Punjab. From west to east, these are: the Indus, Jhelum, Beas, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. Nearly 60 percent of Pakistan's population lives in the Punjab. It is the nation's only province that touches every other province; it also surrounds the federal enclave of the national capital city at Islamabad. This geographical position and a large multi-ethnic population strongly influence Punjab's outlook on National affairs and induces in Punjab a keen awareness of the problems of the Pakistan's other important provinces and territories. 1
The province is a mainly a fertile region along the river valleys, while sparse deserts can be found near the border with Rajasthan and the Sulaiman Range. The region contains the Thal and Cholistan deserts. The Indus River and its many tributaries traverse the Punjab from north to south.
The landscape is amongst the most heavily irrigated on earth and canals can be found throughout the province. Weather extremes are notable from the hot and barren south to the cool hills of the north. The foothills of the Himalayas are found in the extreme north as well.
Owing to its geographical disposition, the province exhibits wide variations of physical, ecological, socio-cultural, and environmental features down from north to south and across from east to west2. Topographically, Punjab can be divided into following five landforms3: Upper hilly region; Potohar (or Potwar) plateau; Central plain lands (Doab4); Desert like plains; and Cholistan and Thal deserts. The components of the project are likely to be located in most parts of the above regions.