LAHORE: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has launched a project titled “Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance” (CRS-IWaG) in Punjab to improve the water governance in the province.

The programme has been launched under the UK Aid-funded Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme.

Speakers at a workshop organized by the IWMI to sensitize print, electronic and digital media journalists on water governance in Pakistan highlighted the importance of water measurement for effective water governance and how improved water resource management can help ensuring the availability of water for different sectors, especially agriculture and industry.

Dr Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative – Pakistan, IWMI, and Team Leader of the WRAP Programme speaking on this occasion said “IWMI Pakistan is working on various water-related reforms through the UK Aid-funded programme, such as water accounting and water resources assessment, Data as a Service (DaaS), water allocation systems, groundwater management information system, and irrigation demand management, among others. These reforms will improve water governance in the Indus Basin to support the implementation of national policies (water and climate change), as well as promote sustainable use of water in Punjab to support the implementation of Punjab Water Act 2019.”

Dr Muhammad Javed, Director - Strategic Planning and Reform Unit, Punjab Irrigation Department (PID), gave an overview of Punjab Water Act 2019 and how the WRAP Programme is contributing towards its implementation.

Engr Hafiz Qaisar Yasin, Director (Headquarters), On Farm Water Management (OFWM) Punjab, informed the participants on the need to improve water governance for better agricultural productivity in Punjab. He emphasized on various policies on water governance and highlighted the need for good governance at the farm level. He also emphasized on undertaking water budgeting and accounting at the farm level to strengthen water governance and promote Irrigation Demand Management (IDM)/Nature-Based Solutions. He also stressed upon communication, awareness raising and capacity development activities.

Experts from IWMI Pakistan, including Dr Abdur Rehman Cheema, Regional Researcher – Water Governance and Institutional Specialist; Dr Umar Waqas Liaqat, Researcher – Irrigation; Dr Muhammad Arshad, Researcher – Integrated Water Resources Management Specialist; and Kanwal Waqar, Researcher – Gender and Youth Specialist, briefed the participants on water governance reforms being piloted through the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG, the instrumentation deployed in pilot district Okara for effective water management, mechanisms for better water allocation, and gender-inclusive water planning.

Engr Dr Jehanzeb Masud Cheema, Researcher – Water Resources Management, IWMI Pakistan, summarized the key takeaways and informed the participants that efficient water management is key to ensuring water security. To achieve this objective, we need to rightly measure our water resources, which will contribute towards informed decision-making.

He further added that this media workshop will enable journalists to better report on water governance issues and advocate for the sustainable use of water resources among various stakeholders and the public. Moreover, IWMI Pakistan will arrange future capacity building workshops and media exposure visits to pilot district Okara in the next financial year of the WRAP Programme.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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