Published Date: Mar 23, 2018
World Water Day: Call made to conserve water to meet needs
To mark World Water Day 2018, WWF-Pakistan hosted a panel discussion on the issue of mismanagement of water resources of the country.
The discussion was hosted in collaboration with LUMS and a multi-national company here on Thursday. Muhammad Mahmood, Secretary, Punjab Agriculture Department, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan, Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Abubakar Muhammad, Director, Centre for Water Informatics & Technology, LUMS, Dr Yousaf Zafar, Chairman, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, and Zamir Ahmed Somroo, Regional Director PCRWR were the panelists.
The aim of the panel discussion was to bring stakeholders from different backgrounds together to discuss issues related to groundwater availability and quality in Pakistan. Alarmingly, the groundwater level is declining in Lahore with a depletion rate of approximately 2.5 to 3.0 feet per year for the district. The water table depth in the central part of the city has fallen below 130 feet (40 metres) approximately and is projected to drop below 230 feet (70 metres) in most areas by 2025.
If the present trend continues the situation will become even worse by 2040. Therefore there is an urgent need to conserve groundwater and adopt strategies at the earliest. World Water Day is celebrated globally to highlight the importance of water related issues by raising awareness and encouraging policymakers to look into sustainable development initiatives in cities as a support to lessen stress on urban water systems.
This year, international World Water Day is being celebrated with the extended theme of ‘Nature for Water.’ Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving water-related crises seen around the world.
Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes. When ecosystems are neglected, it becomes harder to provide the public with water needed to survive and thrive.
Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said, “Pakistan is a water stressed country and is nearing the threshold of water scarcity. Access to safe drinking water in rural and urban areas is declining and the provision of potable water is a key issue that people face.”
He noted that the implementation of laws pertaining to industrial effluents generated from the textile and leather industries are very weak. Further, industrial waste from these industries contains heavy metals such as copper, chromium, and nickel.
A large population of people living in major cities of Pakistan do not have access to safe drinking water as freshwater resources are being contaminated due to multiple reasons. Dr Sohail H Naqvi, Rector LUMS, said that the Indus water captures the path of a water droplet melting at glaciers and making its way through the complex domain. WWF-Pakistan in partnership with LUMS should extend its work on awareness campaigns with students who are the future of the country.
Zamir Ahmed Somroo, Regional Director PCRWR said, “The stress on safe drinking water is a basic right for humans but water is a fast depleting resource that is shared among all of us as individuals, farmers, industry, the environment and communities and therefore needs to be protected in public-private collaborations.”
WWF-Pakistan and the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) also organised a seminar on World Water Day to promote water conservation and discuss solutions to cater to the issue of wastewater in the city, the situation of Pakistan and different methods to treat wastewater specifically for the city of Faisalabad.
Representatives of different institutions such as the Environmental Protection Department, Irrigation Department and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) presented at the Faisalabad event while representatives of industries, universities and government departments participated. Shabir Hussain Chawala, President, FCCI, attended as guest of honour.