World Water Day 2014, Pakistan: ‘Water and Energy’

   TwitCount

To celebrate World Water Day 2014, ICIMOD co-organized the ‘Pakistan Water Summit’ together with the Ministry of Water and Power, Planning Commission, Pakistan Water Partnership, International Food Policy Research Institute, LEAD Pakistan, and UNESCO. The event was held on 20 March at the Pakistan Secretariat in Islamabad with the theme ‘Water and Energy’. The aim of the event was to highlight water and energy issues and their nexus through discussions between experts and people with vision to determine the way forward for Pakistan. 

Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Reforms, chaired the inaugural session, which was attended by Mr Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Federal Minister for Food Security and Agriculture; Mr Riaz Pirzada, Federal Minister for Interprovincial Coordination; Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (Minister of State); and Mr Hasan Nawaz Tarar, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reforms. Dr Arun B Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager and Senior Climate Change Specialist, ICIMOD, and Dr Abdul Wahid Jasra, Country Representative, ICIMOD, represented ICIMOD at the Summit. 

In his welcome speech, Mr Hasan Nawaz Tarar, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform, highlighted some of the water issues that need immediate attention to meet the rising demand for water  in Pakistan. Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (Minister of State) emphasized the need for the judicious use of water for the nation and to improve the livelihoods of the poor. Mr Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Federal Minister for Food Security and Agriculture, highlighted the importance of water for agriculture and food security in Pakistan. He said that a decrease in water availability would directly reduce the amount of food grains and other agricultural outputs causing food shortages in Pakistan. Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform, in his inaugural address, highlighted some of the mega issues in the water sector in Pakistan, which need to be addressed urgently from a national security point of view. Issues such as water availability, groundwater, the impact of climate change on water availability, Pakistan’s dependence on a single basin, and the productivity of the Indus Basin were thoroughly discussed. The inaugural session concluded with the singing of the National Anthem by the students of Roots School System, Islamabad.

After the inaugural session, seven parallel sessions were conducted on water and energy in Pakistan. Dr Arun B Shrestha, ICIMOD gave the keynote presentation in the technical session on ‘Climate Change Impacts on Water Availability (Droughts, Floods and Glaciers)’. He said that ICIMOD had conducted a water availability and demand analysis of the Indus basin using a state-of-the-art hydrological model capable of representing glacial dynamics and climatic processes. The analysis indicates that deglaciation in the Indus basin could produce a 35–50% reduction in water in the area by 2050. However, snow melt and increased precipitation is likely to sustain water availability at least up to 2050. It was emphasized that the transboundary sharing of information can improve our understanding of natural processes as well as social and economic development in the basin. ICIMOD is committed to supporting greater coordination and fostering dialogue and sharing among the parties involved.