Venue: Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Islamabad, Pakistan
World Water Day is marked on 22 March every year. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. 22 years later, World Water Day is celebrated around the world shining the spotlight on a different issue every year.
Pakistan Water Issue
In a report published in 2013, the Asian Development Bank described Pakistan as one of the most “water-stressed” countries in the world, with a water availability of 1,000 cubic meters per person per year a fivefold drop since independence in 1947, and about the same level as drought-stricken Ethiopia.
Freshwater seems abundant, but when accounting for all the water on Earth, it’s in limited supply. Just three percent of the water on our planet is fresh water. A majority of this water, about two percent of the world total, is contained in glaciers and ice sheets or stored below ground. The remaining one percent is found in lakes, rivers and wetland areas or transported through the atmosphere in the form of water vapor, clouds and precipitation. Rain and snowfall replenish freshwater sources, making it vital to know when, where and how much water is falling at any given time. We need to supports better governance approaches to adapt climate change and improved multi-Stakeholder collaboration and also we can be assured of most trustworthy partners at different levels need to act upon climate change and Water issues.
As a result, it requires policy makers, researchers, advocacy groups, development professionals and civil society groups to come together on one platform and build mutual awareness and understanding of the common water resource challenges, In this connection we can achieve Sustainable Development and all its three dimensions; the Social uplift, Economic Development and Environmental up Gradation .
Water is crucially important for the socio-economic sustenance and development of any country. However, its importance signifies for Pakistan that has agriculture based economy. Nevertheless, water resources of the country are subject to all kinds of quantitative and qualitative issues, which need to be addressed on war footing through research and development.
Pakistan is one of the most water stressed countries in the world and is rapidly heading towards becoming water scarce. Per capita water availability has sharply declined from 5,600 m3 in 1947 to around 1,100 m3 for a current population of approximately 180 million. This situation will be worsening as the population increases, which is expected to reach 220 million by 2025. Based on current trends it is likely that per capita water availability will decline to around 800 m3 by 2025, making Pakistan a water scarce country. Pakistan is facing a number of water related challenges, which are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. A few of those are:
Water shortage (water shortfall that was 11% in 2004 will increase to 31% by 2025)
Inadequate water harvesting and storage facilities (only 10% of the average annual flow)
Reduction in storages capacities of the existing reservoirs due to sedimentation (0.2 MAF/year)
Unutilized potentials – hill torrents, Sailaba – 18 MAF
Low system efficiency (less than 40%)
Conventional methods of irrigation: unlevelled basins, improper size of furrows
Low land and water productivity
55% below the average value for rice in Asia (1.0 kg/m3)
Water productivity of wheat (0.76 kg/m3) is 24% less than the world (1.0 kg/m3)
Mining of groundwater
Non-existent national water policy
Water logging and salinity
Unmanaged rangelands/dry lands
Lack of monitoring infrastructure for glaciers and trans-boundary inflows.
Under the visible influence of climate change, temperatures have increased in the high-mountain region of Pakistan during the last 30 years. Due to rising temperature, the glaciers have been losing their ice mass at a faster rate than ever before. High temperatures, glacier movement or weakening ice walls can cause them to burst open suddenly, flooding areas downstream.
The critical role of water in Pakistan’s sustainable development, food security, human health and daily life has not been fully appreciated. As a result, the protection and management of water resources has not been adequate to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Effective development and management of the country’s water resources therefore are vital to Pakistan’s overall economic development, food security and health of its population.
World Water Day is marked on 22 March every year. It is a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water-related issues. Water is fundamental to the three dimensions of sustainable development, including social needs, economic development, environmental limits, and a crosscutting driver. The theme for 2015 World Water Day celebration is “Water and Sustainable Development”. It is about how water links to all areas we need to consider creating the future we want.
Analyzing and evaluating the existing water stressed situation and the main challenges in water sector of Pakistan, a Conference on Water and Sustainable Development- Role of Youth for Sustainable Water Resource Management is planned to be held on March 24, 2015 under the patronage of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and collaborating partners including , Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP),World Youth Parliament of Water (WYPW), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Asian Development Bank (ADB),Economic Cooperation Organization Science Foundation (ECOSF),UNESCO,UNICEF, Plan International, Muslim Aid, Muslim Hands, and Water Aid. The conference shall provide a platform for exchange of experiences and dialogue to develop a way forward to address the water-related issues.
The intended objectives of the conference are:
• To sensitize on critical water issues, challenges and opportunities
• To engage all stakeholders with special focus on youth for sustainable water development and management
• To persuade the Government of Pakistan for approval of National Water Policy
• A consensus ‘Islamabad Water Day Declaration 2015’
• MoU between World Youth Parliament for Water and Pakistan Youth Parliament for Water
• Group discussion proceedings
• A conference report
• Outline of media kit
Around one hundred, middle to top management cadre, water related experts, stakeholders and youth from institutions at the national and provincial levels will be selected in consultation with the collaborating partners.
Format of the Conference
After the inaugural session, there will be one presentation regarding importance of water and issues/challenges in Pakistan’s perspective. After the presentation, the participants would be divided into 5 groups and given following themes for interactive deliberations:
i. Water as a driver for growth and sustainability
ii. Sustainable groundwater management
iii. Climate change impacts on water towers – HKH Region
iv. Cross-cutting role of youth and other stakeholders
v. Water policies and stewardships – stakeholders participation
Each group will present its findings after the deliberations. After the groups’ presentation, a Joint Declaration will be finalized and signed by the partner agencies for submission to Government of Pakistan through Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.