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LAHORE: The Indus Basin in Pakistan is under pressure due to population growth, rapidly melting glaciers, changing pattern in river flows, and over abstraction of groundwater.

The per capita water availability is declining, and water demand of urban, industrial, and commercial sectors is exceeding safe withdrawal limits. Implementing an IWRM approach can help to sustainably manage our water resources and contribute towards sustainable development.

This was claimed by the experts at a training workshop arranged by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan on “Basic concepts and principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)” to build a cadre of mid-career professionals at the district and tehsil level and develop their skills for better water allocation practices, using IWRM approach.

The workshop, which held at Okara, was attended by representatives from Punjab Irrigation Department (PID), on Farm Water Management (OFWM), Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Community Development Unit (CDU), Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA), Local Government department, and academia.

Dr. Habib Ullah Habib, Director – OFWM Research Farm (Renala Khurd), OFWM Punjab, gave the welcome note and urged to increase application efficiency of irrigation in agriculture sector using ‘More Crop per Drop’ approach. He said due to changes in weather patterns, water availability was becoming unpredictable, leading to over-reliance on groundwater resources. This could have disastrous consequences on future generations, if our groundwater aquifers are exhausted. It was important to use water in agriculture sector wisely using IWRM approach and promote high value crops for greater revenue.

Dr. Jehanzeb Masud Cheema, Researcher – Water Resources Management, IWMI Pakistan, gave an overview of the UK Aid-funded Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG).

Dr. Cheema said, “The programme has a special focus on IWRM, so that water resources are sustainably used. The state-of-the-art interventions piloted in Okara district, such as automated soil moisture sensors; Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) sensors; and Electrical Conductivity (EC) meters, will serve as a demonstration for farmers to enhance uptake and promote water use efficiency.”

Dr. Muhammad Arshad, Researcher - IWRM Specialist, IWMI Pakistan, shared the basic concepts and challenges related to IWRM and suggested developing an inter-sectoral approach, so that optimal use of water can be ensured, and benefits are maximised. According to him, “The Indus Basin in Pakistan is under pressure due to population growth, rapidly melting glaciers, changing pattern in river flows, and over abstraction of groundwater.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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