Published Date: Mar 21, 2014
SDPI Press Release (March 21, 2014)
water insecurities can propel conflicts in the future. There is a need
for conservation and proper management of water resources in the
country. This was expressed by a number of experts and community members
at a special seminar on ‘Water for Future: Perspectives from Pakistan’
to mark the World Water Day 2014 here today. The event was organized by leading development sectors organizations including Oxfam, SPO, SDPI , IUCN, PARC, Indus Consortium, in partnership with Mobilink Pakistan.
Suleri, Executive Director SDPI said that there is a need for greater
political wisdom to address policy gaps in water related policies. He
said that the media and the civil society can play a key role in
sensitizing policy-makers over crucial issues.
at the occasion, Naseer Memon, Executive Director SPO highlighted that
there is no policy framework for water management in Pakistan. Equity
and access to clean water and sanitation have become major issues for a
number of local communities in the country. 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. Zaigham
Habib observed that there is a need to ensure equitable water
distribution across Pakistan. Indigenous populations and communities
should be made part of the development process, he stressed.
Ahmed from the IUCN said that 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. 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.
Zaman, Senior Advisor Climate Change LEAD Pakistan, said that climate
change is now 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.
Muree, Project Director of the Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project
said that water and sanitation issues are highly prevalent at the
micro-level and need to be addressed in the local government law.
Community representatives from across the country also shared problems
at the occasion, highlighting instances related to water shortages,
floods, health hazards due to industrial dumping in fresh water.
Kazi highlighted that international law has advanced substantially on
water issues and water related conflicts. However, there is little
awareness and education on water management in Pakistan. Climate change
has been inducing glacier melting in the country, which can lead to
inter-temporal water insecurities. Arif Jabbar Khan stressed that there
is a need to bridge the knowledge gap for the welfare of those most
vulnerable to water related issues.
Ahmed, Head-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
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. Mohsin Iqbal from
the Global Change Impact Studies Centre said that there is now higher
variability in river flows and seasonal patterns in Pakistan, reflecting
climate change impacts. This is further exacerbated by decreasing per
capita water availability and increasing demand for water. Development
of water storage facilities has therefore become extremely important in