Sustainable Water Resources Management

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 1903–1915 | Cite as

Future water demand modeling using water evaluation and planning: a case study of the Indus Basin in Pakistan

  • Daniyal HassanEmail author
  • Muhammad Naseer Rais
  • Waqas Ahmed
  • Rakhshinda Bano
  • Steven J. Burian
  • Muhammad Wajid Ijaz
  • Faris Ahmed Bhatti
Original Article


The Indus River Basin is the fourth-largest irrigation system in the world, contributing up to 25% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product and 90% of its food production. Various kinds of water users (i.e., rural, urban, subsistence, and commercial irrigated agriculture) exist in the catchment. The rising local population—in conjunction with climate change and the need to meet minimum flow requirements—will significantly exacerbate the complexity of future water resources management in an already water-stressed sub-catchment. The water evaluation and planning system (WEAP) model is widely used to analyze the complex water resources systems and to examine supply and demand management strategies. In this study, a scenario analysis is conducted using WEAP to assess the impacts of possible future water demands on Indus water resources. For each scenario, the water resource is compared to the baseline year of 2015, then analyzed according to two growth rate scenarios. These simulations may help in understanding the potential water management problems of the future. It is estimated that by 2040 if population continue at the census 2017 growth rates, the water demand of Punjab and Sindh provinces will increase to 192.7 billion cubic meters, which is more than the current entitlements and availability.


Water resources management Indus Basin Climate change Water scarcity Water evaluation and planning (WEAP) Future water demands 



The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their meticulous reading and suggestions, Maya Silver for editing the manuscript, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Water, and Power Development Authority, and Provincial Irrigation Departments for data and technical help. The authors acknowledge the USPCASW-Mehran UET small Grant program for financial support under its project title Development of a Decision Support System for Water Resources Planning and Management in Pakistan. For technical supports the authors would like to express deepest gratitude to the Stephanie Galaitsi and Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCASW)Mehran University of Engineering and TechnologyJamshoroPakistan

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