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A number of factors constrain the performance of irrigation system in Punjab. Various agencies and individuals identify the management issues and constraints according to their vision and perceptions. There is however, a growing recognition that the issues of irrigation management are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. Cognizant of the problems in irrigation management system, the Punjab Government has developed a vision and strategy for the irrigation sector. The long term vision is to provide adequate, equitable and reliable irrigation supplies to the cultivable lands of Punjab aiming at enhanced agricultural productivity and sustainable development with focus on holistic management and broad based institutional reforms. The strategic vision includes institutional and policy reforms as well as critical investments in rehabilitation and system improvement.

The Government has launched a medium term Reforms Program for achieving this vision. The Reforms Program is built on the national water vision. “By 2025, Pakistan should have adequate water available, through proper conservation and development. Water supplies should be of good quality, equitably distributed and meet the needs of all users through an efficient management, institutional and legal system that would ensure the sustainable utilization of the water resources and support economic and social development with due consideration to the environment, quality of life, economic value of resources, ability to pay and participation of all stakeholders."


Listed below are PIDA's major initiatives:

  • Institutional and Policy Reforms
    To improve the management and maintenance of the irrigation system for ensuring its long term physical and financial sustainability
  • Water Resource Management Reforms
    To emphasize the critical importance of water entitlements, measurements and transparency
  • Irrigation Service Delivery Reform
    The objective is to improve the quality, efficiency and accountability of irrigation services through greater participation of farmers, institutional reforms and the use of contractual arrangements among water supply agencies and users
  • Reforms to Encourage New Technology
    To improve water use efficiency and on farm productivity through a system of incentives  

The reforms in the province started with promulgation of the “Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority Act" ,1997 (PIDA) by the Provincial Assembly of Punjab.

For implementation of the reform initiatives, a legal framework has been evolved by PIDA which is based on the participation of farmers at all levels (provincial level, canal command level and distributary level) of irrigation management. This framework legitimises the reforms process and sets out the conditions for establishment of Farmer Organizations and Area Water Boards through Rules and Regulations under PIDA Act.