HYDERABAD: In line with the directives of the Prime Minister, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) conducted a consultative session of stakeholders and experts at Hyderabad with WAPDA Chairman Zafar Mahmood in the chair to discuss water security issues in Pakistan. This was the third session following the two which were held at Lahore and Islamabad on October 5 and 8 respectively.
Besides WAPDA Member (Water) Mohammed Shoaib Iqbal, the consultative session was attended by the representatives of the various provincial departments of Sindh such as Irrigation, Agriculture, Environment and Alternate Energy, Public Health Engineering, Population Welfare, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, NED University Karachi, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro, Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam, Sindh University Thatta Campus, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, Hisaar Foundation, Sindh Democratic Forum and Centre for Peace and Civil Society. In addition to a number of water sector experts, Sindh Abadgar Board President and Sindh Chamber of Agriculture General Secretary also participated in the event.
Speaking on the occasion, WAPDA Chairman briefed the delegates about objective of holding the consultative sessions on water security issues. He said that the Prime Minister has tasked WAPDA to consult the stakeholders as well as water sector experts and come up with recommendations so as to finalise the Prime Minister’s initiatives on water security. The recommendations of the consultative sessions will be collated and presented to the Prime Minister, he added.
Highlighting the importance of water for life, the Chairman said that striking a balance between water availability and its need is a must. He further said that unfortunately, there is no harmony among the provinces on water issues, therefore, there is a dire need to forge consensus on all water issues, and that can be reached through constructive engagements.
During the consultative session, WAPDA Advisor Dr. Izhar-ul-Haq introduced the basic water issues confronting Pakistan. Later, experts and stakeholders made detailed deliberations about various issues relating to water security in Pakistan. Sindh Irrigation former Secretary Idris Rajput dilated upon the issues concerning water storages in Pakistan and options available with the country in this regard. Eminent water sector expert Abrar Kazi highlighted the ways and means for efficient use of water. Renowned water sector writer G.N. Mughal spoke about the need to establish water rights of upper and lower riparian.
Water sector expert-cum-author Iqtidar H Siddiqui briefed the participants on trans-boundary water issues. Simi Kamal of Hisaar Foundation emphasized on the need of sustainability of Indus Delta Professor Dr. Atif Mustafa of NED University Karachi brought into light the impact of climate change on water resources in Pakistan.
Dr Kamran Ansari of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro gave a rundown of flood and drought management. Water sector expert Professor Mushtaq Mirani explained pricing of water usage. Nara Canal and Area Water Board former Director Ghulam Mustafa Ujjan expressed his views on the cropping patterns. Dr. Sarfaraz H.Solangi, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sindh University Thatta Campus dilated upon the water use and production comparison, while Mohammed Ismail Kumbhar of Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam briefed the session on issues and challenges of rain harvesting in Sindh.