By News Desk
On 24th October 2018, CGSS organized a Conference on “Water Security: Issues/Way Forward on Aggression and Conservation”, at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. To discuss the looming water crises in Pakistan and the mechanisms to mitigate the challenges and devise an extended policy framework, CGSS organized conference on the aforementioned issue.
The Conference commenced with the opening remarks by Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam HI(M), (Retd) – Chairman CGSS. He stated that in recent years, Pakistan has suffered from severe water shortages, flooding and declining water quality. The worsening water crisis must be resolved if the country is ever to achieve stability and progress.
The first session started with the speech of Ms. Agnes Pompos- International Water Expert on Peaceful Water Sharing on Role of International Convention and Agreements in Peaceful Water Sharing. She stated the conventions are significant because it creates a framework, a template for existing and future basin agreements and promotes optimal and sustainable utilization for present and future generations.
Ms. Zartaj Gul – Minister of State for Climate Change, Chief Guest of the occasion presented keynote speech on Water Security and its Importance for Pakistan. She stated that solving water scarcity issue in Pakistan demands multi-facet solutions. Our country is suffering from history’s worst water crisis that requires coordinated efforts at multiple fronts; individual, community, tehsil, district, provincial and national. There is a need to create public awareness through capacity-building.
Advocate Ahmer Bilal Soofi- Former Federal Law Minister presented his views on Indian Violation of Indus Water Treaty. He stated that engineered treaty and framework will not work instead we must address our issues at UN and WTO. Furthermore, being a lower riparian would be a threat but the conflict between India and Pakistan must be abolished.
Mr. Ahmed Kamal, Chairman, Federal Flood Commission presented speech on Main Streaming Disaster (Flood) Risk Reduction in Water Sector. He stated that current development practices are not fully considerate about climate change and disaster risks as there is a visible shift in summer and winter weather pattern from the normal and our focus must be to ensure water sustainability through mainstreaming DRR & CC approaches in water sector project planning and implementation.
Major General Hafiz Masroor Ahmed, (Retd) – Vice President, CGSS presented speech on Indian Water Aggression in South Asia. He stated that India wants Pakistan to give up on core issues with India and become a pliant state therefore India is now focusing to weaken our agro based economy.
The second session started with the speech of Mr. Zakir Hussain Dahri, National Coordinator on Water Resources, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) on Surface Storage and Groundwater Recharge in Pakistan. He suggested water storage policy recommendations for future.
Dr. Muhammad Munir Ahmad, Director, Climate Energy and Water Resources Institute, National Agricultural Research Center, (NARC) presented speech on Water Smart Irrigation Technologies to Manage Water Scarcity. He enlightened the participants about the major constraints in food security that includes water availability but no land, underutilization of available water, conventional energy scarcity and less command area development.
Waseem Anwer Baig, Management Consultant / COO, Baigmann Water Company, Lahore presented speech on Strategies for Water Conservation. He stated that we must find out the actual form of demand and supply. He stated that the sea water can be used as the finest water. He also enlightened the participants about the water consumption pattern in Pakistan.
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Director General, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) presented speech on Groundwater Potential in Indus Plains. He stated that it has been reported that out of 43 canal commands, the water table was declining in 26 canal commands due to rapid increase in groundwater abstraction. Similar is the situation in large cities where water table is depleting at an alarming rate.
The last speaker of the Conference, Mr. Shams ul Mulk, Former Chairman, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) presented speech on Futurist Profiling of River Indus with Special Emphasis on Water Flowing from Western Borders. He stated that there is nothing wrong with what we have, the wrong is with us. We have become the ancestry landlord of what Allah has given us. In order to reduce our own guilt, we say that Indus Water Treaty was wrong. Pakistan has the potential to become the Asian tiger, but unfortunately that potential has been undone by India. Kalabagh Dam was the project that could have given us electricity at the most cheapest rates. He furthermore stated that we need to build many more dams rather just focusing on diamer and Kalabagh Dam.
The Conference ended by the concluding remarks of the Chairman CGSS and distribution of mementos.