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LAHORE: Speakers while addressing different gatherings in connection with the ‘World Water Day’ said that groundwater is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and despite providing much of the domestic, industrial and agricultural needs of the country; the groundwater resource largely remains overexploited misunderstood and inadequately researched.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, during a panel discussion on the World Water Day Symposium organized in collaboration with Environmental Protection Agency Punjab and College of Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES), University of the Punjab, said that above mentioned facts compounded with the threat of climate change is expected to put additional pressure on the rapidly depleting resource.

Sharing his thoughts, Sohail Ali Naqvi, Head of Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan, emphasized the need to artificially recharge the depleting groundwater resources through low-cost and indigenous nature-based solutions. He shed light on various initiatives of WWF-Pakistan which are reducing stress on the groundwater resources of Lahore such as ablution water recycling, rainwater harvesting, recharge wells and floating treatment wetlands.

Prof. Dr Sajid Rashid Ahmed, Principal CEES, stressed the need for strengthening industry, academia and government linkages to enhance research in groundwater management, which is a subject that has not been extensively researched.

Moreover, Dr. Fozia Parveen, Post-Doc Fellow and Adjunct Faculty, Centre for Water Informatics and Technology, LUMS, highlighted how women-centric research in the domain of groundwater management can drive effective and inclusive policy recommendations.

Speakers at another seminar arranged by the Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) in connection with the World Water Day alleged that successive Pakistan governments had not taken any sufficient practical steps to safeguard the water resources of Pakistan including river waters. New dams were not constructed for reservoir purposes nor were steps taken to clean the polluted water. They said it had left negative impact on the agriculture of the country.

The seminar was addressed by Kissan Board Pakistan chairman Chaudhry Shaukat Ali Chaddhar, Pakistan National Water Commission Chairman Muhammad Yousaf Sarwar Faridi and others.

The KBP President claimed that numerous countries including India had declared water as their national asset while Pakistan ignored any step for development of new water resources. He also announced to observe March 22 to March 29, 2022, as national week for water and later stage a long march towards Islamabad on March 29, 2022, to create awareness among the masses about importance of water.

Pakistan National Water Council Chairman Muhammad Yousaf Faridi stressed the need for change in the UN charter of reforms to improve water situation in 137 countries around the world including Pakistan.

Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) Central Secretary Information Haji Muhammad Ramzan said that water should be released in Sutluj, Bias and Ravi rivers for the safety of aquatic life and rivers itself. He claimed that provision exist even in the Indus Basin Water Treaty in this regard. He also called for paying attention to construction of new water reservoirs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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