Published Date: Mar 19, 2021
Experts highlight conservation, sustainable use of water ahead of World Water Day
LAHORE: In a bid to highlight the importance of water, its preservation, and sustainable use, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Nestlé Pakistan arranged a webinar ahead of World Water Day, which is going to be observed worldwide on March 22, under this year’s theme ‘Valuing Water’.
The webinar featured Punjab’s minister of irrigation and speakers from WWF-Pakistan, Hisaar Foundation, and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.
The webinar focused on valuing water in agrarian economies like Pakistan by encouraging a collective action approach to conserve and sustainably use shared water resources.
In his keynote address, Punjab’s Irrigation Minister Mohsin Khan Leghari stressed the urgency of putting water at the heart of action plans and policy.
“Our government is focused on a policy, on usage and distribution of water, including irrigation, agriculture and industrial use, as there are water inefficiencies in the agriculture sector which is consuming more than 90% of the country’s water resources,” he said.
Adding to the minister’s point, the LUMS Center for Water Informatics & Technology Director Dr Abubakr Muhammad stressed the need to deploy modern technologies to farmers.
“It is important to integrate technologies, such as moisture sensors and drip irrigation, with good practices of sustainable agriculture such as mulching and raised beds. These technologies and practices must be indigenised and supported for wide adoption by supporting local industry.”
On the occasion, Nestlé Pakistan’s Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Waqar Ahmad spoke about the company’s “Caring for Water (C4W)-Pakistan initiative,” and said that “Nestlé is working with a wide range of partners to conserve shared water resources, including the Punjab Agriculture Department, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), PARC, WWF and LUMS, in its efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
“Under our broad sustainability agenda and our C4W-Pakistan initiative, we have collectively installed a drip irrigation system on 152 acres of farmers in our value chain, with an annual estimated water saving of 428 million litres. We also aim to scale up our investment in low-cost smart soil moisture sensors which send regular updates to farmers about which area to irrigate and how much,” he added.
During the discussion, panellists emphasised the importance of collective action and water stewardship to enhance the capacity of other businesses and sectors. The discussion consisted of comments from other notable speakers, including the Chairperson of Hisaar Foundation Simi Kamal, Director of Climate, Energy and Water Resources Institute Dr Bashir Ahmad, CEO, WWF-Pakistan Hammad Naqi, Post-Doctorate Fellow and Adjunct Faculty, LUMS, Dr Fozia Parveen.
World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis.