Punjab Information Technology Board PITB to stop water theft through smartphone application. This application was launched by the PITB in order to help the irrigation department to have real time data of water for irrigation purpose in Punjab. For this purpose an experimental project has been started in the Lahore Irrigation Division to test the application. The experimental project was successful and will be extended to the rest of the province with in a time period of one to two months.
PITB Chairman, Umar Saif said:
“The smart applications would help the departments collect data in real time and gather geo-tagged pictorial evidence of water theft. He said that the system would help reduce water theft, embezzlement and malpractice in the Irrigation Department.”
The initiative was taken by the PITB and Punjab Irrigation Department and was funded by World Bank. It was revealed that more than 21 million acres of agricultural land was irrigated by 3,000 irrigation channels. The farmers who are located at the end of the irrigation channels were deprived from 60-65% of the water share allocated to them. The farmers who are allocated in the upstream of the water channels consumes more water than their allocated share which affects the farmers living at the tail end of the water channels. This discrepancy in water allocation leads to a large area of fertile land to become barren and also decrease in the productivity of agricultural products.
This project has been initiated to put a stop on water theft in the province and give each farmer his right to allocated water, initially 2,670 smart mobile phones would be introduced along with necessary training for Irrigation Department staff. The smartphone application will be used by beldaars, gauge readers, sub-engineers and chief engineers to monitor water theft, maintenance work and other developmental for the irrigation purpose.