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An initiative of the Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, Recharge Pakistan is an unprecedented collaboration that aims to reduce climate vulnerability through ecosystem-based adaptation and integrated flood risk management.
Over the last century, Pakistan’s average temperature has increased by 0.57 C and the average annual precipitation has increased by 25 per cent. Pakistan continues to remain in the world’s top 10 vulnerable countries on the Climate Risk Index. There has been a marked increase in the occurrence of floods, landslides and drought events, which are surpassing the capacity of the country’s existing water infrastructure to prevent large-scale economic damages and loss of human life. The Indus River is experiencing floods with increasing intensity and frequency. The communities along the Indus, including upstream watersheds and downstream wetlands and floodplains, are disproportionately vulnerable as they depend on the river for food and water as well as their agriculture, livestock and fishing-based livelihoods.
“The mighty Indus, Pakistan’s lifeline, supports its predominantly agrarian economy and sustains ecosystems and communities.”
The superfloods of 2010, one of Pakistan’s worst humanitarian disasters, brought the country’s reliance on built infrastructure to the forefront, baring its limited capacity to manage flood volumes and reinforcing the need for a comprehensive and integrated programme to reduce flood risks and enhance water recharge along the Indus Basin. In their aftermath, integrated flood risk management became a national priority for the Government of Pakistan.
The urgent need for improved preparedness against high-risk climate disasters was further reinforced in 2022, when Pakistan received 190 per cent of its normal rainfall between July and August, with some areas receiving up to 450 per cent more. This led to devastating floods - labeled a ‘climate catastrophe’- which saturated flood basins and severely damaged the water systems in the areas, damaging infrastructure and wiping out farmlands central to local livelihoods.
This project seeks to create a paradigm shift in the country’s flood and water resource management efforts by establishing the cost effectiveness, benefits and sustainability of ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure interventions in the Indus Basin.
About the Project
Championed by Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change and the Federal Flood Commission, under the Ministry of Water Resources, this project has been made possible by the collaboration of local communities in DI Khan, the Ramak Watershed, Manchar-Chakar Lehri Watershed, the Green Climate Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, The Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF. This seven-year investment represents the largest investment to date in an ecosystem-based approach to flood and water resources management at the national level.
The project envisions ecosystem-based adaptation contributing towards better climate resilience, water and food security, and sustainable livelihoods in Pakistan. The actions proposed under Recharge Pakistan are primarily designed to keep more floodwater from reaching agricultural and community lands by slowing run-off and making use of wetlands to hold and absorb it.
Local communities are expected to see additional benefits from these nature-based solutions to mitigate flooding—including reduced erosion and landslide risk—as increased vegetation stabilizes the soils, enhancing the recharge of groundwater supply and improving the base flow of rivers and springs in the dry season. These measures ensure that local communities receive stronger protection from drought, as well as flooding.
"Recharge Pakistan will increase water storage and recharge through wetlands, floodplains, and hill-torrents management; promote climate-adapted community-based natural resource management and livelihoods, and forge a paradigm shift to scale up this approach."
Evidence gathered about the effectiveness, efficacy and sustainability of the interventions will inform updated government procedures to reduce flood and drought impacts. The project will also train government staff and communities in the design and management of these interventions for use in future country-driven projects.
The project's core interventions include:
Demonstrate the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure:
By restoring degraded forests in DI Khan district, restoring flow paths in Ramak Watershed and Manchar Lake (Qambar Shahdadkot District), and building green infrastructure projects in DI Khan, Ramak, Manchar, and Chakar Lehri; Recharge Pakistan will maximize flood reduction benefits to vulnerable communities.
Create an enabling environment for climate action in Pakistan:
Recharge Pakistan will promote integrated strategies, planning, and policymaking that make ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure a vital part of Pakistan’s National Water Policy, National Adaptation Plan, and Provincial Adaptation Plans. With well-documented procedures backed by a rigorous scientific base in place, the Government of Pakistan can channel future investments into ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure interventions to complement its existing grey infrastructure network.
Enhance community resilience in Pakistan's Indus Basin:
Recharge Pakistan will introduce farmers to agricultural practices that can better withstand future climate scenarios and support small businesses in providing alternative revenue generating opportunities. The project will also reduce ecosystem degradation from the traditional livelihoods directly dependent upon natural resources.