Indus Basin Floods: Mechanisms, Impacts, and Management

Publication | October 2013

This report proposes a contemporary holistic approach to flood management in Pakistan's Indus Basin.

  • US$18.00 (paperback)

More than 138 million people in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan depend on irrigated agriculture. But rising population pressures, climate change, and the continuous degradation of ecosystem services have resulted in increased flood risks, worsened by inadequate flood planning and management. The devastating 2010 flood alone caused damage of about $10 billion.

This report proposes a contemporary holistic approach, applying scientific assessments that take people, land, and water into account. It also includes planning and implementation realized through appropriate policies, enforceable laws, and effective institutions.

Lessons learned and the way forward

Monsoonal rains, steep topography, and degraded catchments contribute to high flood peaks. The Indus Basin lacks an appropriate flood policy, comprehensive laws, and adequate flood-control infrastructure.

There is an immediate need to

  • assess technological, institutional, and policy options;
  • develop a flood policy, integrated water resources management framework, and Indus Basin flood plan following integrated river-basin approaches;
  • rationalize organizational roles and institutional reform;
  • develop and enforce a land-use policy;
  • set short-, medium-, and long-term goals, with identified means to achieve those goals;
  • identify and involve all the stakeholders in the process; and
  • increase revenue for the maintenance and management of flood protection infrastructure.


  • Introduction
  • Major Floods in the Indus Basin
  • Flood Policy, Planning, and Practices
  • Gaps in the Existing Flood Management Approach
  • Emerging Trends and Flood Management Options
  • Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
  • References
  • Appendixes

Additional Details

  • Climate change
  • Promoting climate resilient development
  • Environment
  • Disaster Risk Management
  • Water
  • Basin Water
  • Water Resource Management
  • Pakistan
  • RPT125133-3
  • 978-92-9254-284-9 (print)
  • 978-92-9254-285-6 (web)

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