Fresh data, research vital to tackle water shortage, climate change issues: Experts

IWMI inaugurates liaison office in Islamabad for better coordination across Pakistan

Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir)  Experts have emphasized for employing latest data and research to ensure sustainable use of water and land resources in order to tackle the serious challenges of water shortage, climate change as well as food security in Pakistan.

They expressed these views at the inauguration of liaison office of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan in Islamabad on Thursday. Representatives from the diplomatic community, federal secretaries and officials from the development and private sector attended the ceremony.
Dr. Rachael McDonnell, Deputy Director General, IWMI, who inaugurated the liaison office, gave a presentation on climate change impacts on water resources availability in Pakistan.

She said that IWMI uses research for development approach to implement three strategic programs: 1) Water, Food and Ecosystems; 2) Water, Climate Change and Resilience; and 3) Water, Growth and Inclusion, to support the Pakistan government’s efforts to meet its targets under the Sustainable Development Goals.
Highlighting the IWMI’s priorities in Pakistan, Dr. Rachael added, “Our priorities – co-developed with federal ministries, provincial governments and development partners, are aimed to support the design and implementation of effective policies around water, food and climate; improve water use efficiency and productivity; and build stronger water institutions at all levels. Key research areas include disaster risk monitoring and climate resilience, water resources assessment, irrigation modernization, agricultural water management and capacity development.”
IWMI is an international, non-profit, scientific research organization, under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI was established in Pakistan in September 1986 as a permanent research center.

In his remarks, Country Representative – Pakistan and Regional Representative – Central Asia, IWMI, Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, said, “IWMI Pakistan is working on projects related to improving water governance at federal and provincial levels, to help Pakistan adapt to the changing climate. By ensuring the availability of better water data and its use within the provinces, it will improve demand-driven sharing of water between competing uses.”

He further said, “We have field offices in Okara, Rahim Yar Khan and DI Khan, and this liaison office in Islamabad will improve coordination with stakeholders and address the growing water challenge.”
On the occasion, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr. Ghulam Mohammad Ali termed the IWMI role very significant in water resources management and PARC’s collaboration for sustainable irrigation development in Pakistan.

Talking on the occasion, Florence Rolle, Country Representative Pakistan shared an overview of living indus initiative in Pakistan.

Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research Humayun Javed; Chairman Federal Flood Comission, Ministry of Water Resources Engr. Ahmed Kamal and Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Dr. Mazhar Hayat gave their presentations on the implementation of various policies related to food security, water and climate change.

In the technical session, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) informed the participants regarding the ongoing water situation in Pakistan.
The session was followed by a panel discussion on pathways for sustainable water resources management in the Indus Basin: Challenges and opportunities. The panelists included Muhammad Nawaz, Development Specialist, Water Resources Management, USAID; Dr. Bashir Ahmad, Director, Climate, Energy & Water Research Institute (CEWRI); Sardar Moazzam, Managing Director, National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (NEECA).

The panelists called for protecting the Indus Basin from various threats such as climate change, unsustainable use and pollution, and suggested ways the government can ensure water security in Pakistan.