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The News

Published Date: Mar 22, 2014

Rising water insecurities can propel conflicts in future: experts

There is a
need for conservation and proper management of water resources in the
country as rising water insecurities can propel conflicts in the future.

The
concern was shared by a number of experts and community members at a
seminar ‘Water for Future: Perspectives from Pakistan’ organised on
Friday to mark the World Water Day 2014.

The speakers
highlighted that there is no policy framework for water management in
Pakistan. "Water variability is also high in the country; certain areas
have higher availability of water resources while others continue to
suffer from severe droughts.

Policy frameworks should be
developed at the provincial level, and should be consolidated into a
comprehensive framework for the country," said Executive Director of
Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) Naseer Memon. He said
that equity and access to clean water and sanitation have become major
issues for a number of local communities in the country.

Executive
Director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Abid Suleri
said stressed the need for greater political wisdom to address policy
gaps in water related issues. He said that the media and the civil
society can play a key role in sensitizing policy- makers over crucial
issues.

Shahid Ahmed from the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said unless the sewage system is not
properly managed in Pakistan, water related issues cannot be resolved. "Pakistan also lacks severely in water-borne transportation. The biogas
produced from sewage can also be used as fuel for vehicles," he said.

He
shared that water has become an increasingly scarce resource and as
energy demand grows, conflicts over water will increase. “Competition
over water resources is already on a rise among municipalities, farmers,
industrial and power suppliers, as evident in many parts of the world
including Pakistan.” Qamar Zaman, Senior Advisor Climate Change LEAD
Pakistan, said climate change is a priority agenda globally. “However,
the issue is not given as much importance in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s
vulnerability to climate change has also been on the rise over the last
few years, as evident by erratic movements in the frequency of
rainfall. Pakistan’s climate change policy should focus on adoption of
frameworks being developed globally,” he recommended.

Dr
Fatah Murree, project director of Sindh Water Sector Improvement
Project, said at micro level, we have water and sanitation issue, which
should be address in local government law. He said that drinking water
and health issue should also be resolved.

Community from
all over the country also shared their problems related to water
shortage, floods and health issues due to industrial wastage dumping in
fresh water

Shakeel Ahmed, head of Climate Change Study
Centre, SDPI observed that water, energy and food securities are
interdependent and a policy shift in one of the streams would affect
others. There is therefore a need to develop a policy framework that
deals with all three of these issues in a holistic manner.

Muhammad
Saleem Malik from the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council presented
case studies on the use of alternative energy tools, including solar
powered pumps, for irrigation purposes in Pakistan. The event was
organised by leading development sectors organisations including Oxfam,
SPO, SDPI, IUCN, PARC, Indus Consortium and Mobilink.