Pakistan Water Week 2021

December 6th – 9th, 2021

Pakistan Water Week 2021

Needs for Sustainable Water Management in a Climate Crisis for Indus Basin
December 6th-9th, 2021

 

The Ministry of Science and Technology, through the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), in collaboration with International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan and CGIAR’s Water Land and Ecosystem (WLE) flagship program, is jointly organizing a Pakistan Water Week 2021 International Conference with the theme Needs for Sustainable Water Management in a Climate Crisis for Indus Basin in Islamabad, Pakistan from 06th-09th December.

In 1980, Pakistan had a relatively abundant supply of water. In 2000, Pakistan had become water-stressed. And by 2035, Pakistan is predicted to have become water scarce. Climate change and COVID-19 have only exacerbated the problems facing Pakistan and its use of water.
And so, Pakistan Water Week 2021, the first-ever event of its kind, aims to bring together academics, government officials, NGOs, and policy experts from home and abroad to discuss the problems facing Pakistan today. For example, one serious problem is the lack of reliable, accurate and actionable data. Another problem is over-extraction and depletion of groundwater resources. And disparate policies in the various sectors of water, food security and climate change make implementation more difficult.

While identifying problems, however, Pakistan Water Week 2021 will also focus on climate resilient solutions, both digital innovations along with those based on nature. In addition, the role of the media and of women’s leadership will also be explored in the context of water. Ultimately, the goal of Pakistan Water Week 2021 is to figure out strategies to meet the competing water needs of different sectors, design a research plan that will guide investments in applied research and development, identify sustainable water management strategies that take climate change into account, and identify gaps in policies and practices that can be filled with better scientific understanding.

But in addition to high-level policy discussions, Pakistan Water Week 2021 will also incorporate a public awareness campaign which includes the use of social media, exhibitions highlighting the coordination between the private water sector with the academic and public sectors, a poster competition for university students and the use of games and debate competitions to raise awareness among younger students.

PAKISTAN

Pakistan is one of the world’s largest countries by population, and also has one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. While the country of Pakistan is young – having been formed in 1947 after gaining independence from the United Kingdom – it has a rich and ancient culture and history. While agriculture is a big part of the economy, Pakistan also boasts great cities, such as the cosmopolitan Karachi and the ancient city of Lahore.

Pakistan also boasts many ancient sites, of which Taxila, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the most famous. Located on the banks of the Indus river, the site’s ruins trace how cities and towns evolved over thousands of years on the subcontinent. And in Lahore, Shalamar Gardens, another UNESCO World Heritage site, showcases the grandeur of the art and architecture of the Mughal era.

From the beaches of Gwadar, to the fertile fields of the Punjab, to the Thar desert in Sindh, to the majesty of the Himalayas, to the Kewra salt mines, Pakistan’s landscape is incredibly varied and stunning.

 ISLAMABAD

Located in the northwestern part of Pakistan, Islamabad is a relatively modern city. Built in 1960, this sister city to Rawalpindi is the capital of the country and fairly cosmopolitan. The city attracts both foreigners and other Pakistanis because of the city’s modern and orderly design, excellent infrastructure, and relatively milder temperatures.

The Margalla Hills, to the north of Islamabad, are also home to two spots that have great views of the city and the surrounding areas: Daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohawa. Margalla Hills National Park also has hiking trails and is home to wildlife such as leopards, boars, and the Himalayan goral. The Lok Virsa Museum showcases folk and traditional cultures through handicrafts and art. Saidpur Village is a centuries-old hamlet that also highlights the rich history of the area. And the Faisal Mosque is a notable landmark.

Befitting a modern city, Islamabad, in addition to being the capital, boasts over 20 universities and several technology parks. With one of the country’s highest literacy rates, it has become one of Pakistan’s major commercial and educational hubs.

International Conference

Needs for Sustainable Water Management in a Climate Crisis for Indus Basin
December 6th– 7th, 2021
Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, Pakistan

 

Pakistan was relatively water abundant in 1981. Yet by the year 2000 it had become water-stressed, and if current trends continue, it will be facing water scarcity by 2035, especially in the face of climate change. In addition, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of strengthening the resilience of potable water supply systems. Thus, Pakistan’s increasing water scarcity and vulnerability to climate change highlight the urgent need to manage climate-related risks and to improve water use at the national and local levels.

The Indus Basin faces many unique challenges. Burgeoning population growth and rapid urbanization, along with groundwater exploitation, industrial effluents and unsustainable agricultural practices, are damaging the overall health of the Indus Basin. Moreover, it is vulnerable to both climate and transboundary conflicts. In addition, per capita water availability is less than 1000 m3, below the water scarcity threshold of the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator. And while Pakistan has less than 30 days’ worth of water stored, even this amount is decreasing by 0.2 million acre foot (MAF) per year due to a lack of watershed management.

The recent floods of 2010, 2011, and 2014 have had devastating impacts on infrastructure, agriculture, livestock, and humans. Currently, over 90% of fresh surface and groundwater is used for agriculture. But as the manufacturing and service sectors grow, they will need more of this high-quality water, which is rapidly being depleted.

One of Pakistan’s biggest challenges is the lack of evidence-based and accurate information. Comprehensive, reliable, and accurate information on water distribution, storage, availability, and use is fundamental for future investments. For example, while it is reported that 90% of water is used in agriculture, this number is not reliable because of the lack of comprehensive scientific studies. Similarly, there is no reliable information on the amount of water used by any other sector in Pakistan. And while the Government of Pakistan has developed policies for various sectors, including water, agriculture, energy, climate, and environment, the lack of coherence between them which hinders implementation.

Pakistan Water Week 2021 will provide a platform for those with an interest in water management and innovative climate solutions to share their concerns, opportunities and work to build resilience to climate change for the Indus Basin. The conference will also share the best international scientific practices and guidance to develop more climate-resilient water and land solutions in the Indus Basin.

Objective

Pakistan needs to redouble its efforts if it is to achieve the goal of becoming an upper-middle country on its centenary anniversary in 2047. Development investments and policies need to be informed by research, not hypotheses, no matter how plausible those hypotheses may be. Despite the fact that governments, NGOs, and academics have worked on these problems, water resource challenges remain and new water resource issues are emerging. Policies, procedures and practices are uninformed by contemporary scientific knowledge.

Thus, this situation calls for a well-prepared and integrated response through a joint effort by all key players in the water sector. This Pakistan Water Week 2021 is built on the National Water Conference on Emerging Water Challenges held in Islamabad on 15th July 2021. The key objectives of the Pakistan Water Week 2021 Conference are to:

  1. Identify gaps in policy, procedures, and practices that would benefit from better scientific knowledge, understanding, and evidence of proposed climate resilient solutions.
  2. Discuss water governance strategies for the competing water needs of multiple sectors.
  3. Carve out a research plan that addresses the priorities of the stakeholders in the water and food security sector that will guide investments in applied research and development.
  4. Engage in a process to identify key climate adaptation actions leading to sustainable water management for the Indus Basin.

The organization partners of this conference will be the Ministry of Science and Technology through the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and CGIAR’s Water Land and Ecosystem (WLE) flagship program. Participants will include professionals working in the water, climate change, and food security; federal and provincial government organizations; national and international research organizations; development partners; and independent researchers and academics in Pakistan and abroad.

Thematic Area 1:  Sustainable and Climate Resilient Solutions – Thinking ahead
Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, IWMI Global
Thematic Area 2: Politics, Policy and Institutions – Good governance and strengthening capacities
Mr. Rana Ali Wajid, IFPRI Pakistan
Thematic Area 3: Technologies and Innovations – Responding to the challenges
Dr. Simon Langan, IWMI Global
Thematic Area 1: Sustainable and Climate Resilient Solutions – Thinking ahead
Thematic Session 1: The Impact of Climate Change on Water and Food Security in the Indus Basin

Climate change is a key factor affecting the reliability of water resources across the globe, with the incidence of severe droughts and extensive floods increasing in many countries. Globally around 70%, and in the Indus basin specifically, around 90% of freshwater is diverted for food production with normally a very low irrigation efficiency (ranging from 30-50%). As such, much of the water diverted for irrigation and other consumptive uses is lost, with consequential negative impacts on environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The latest IPCC report confirms that climate change has already generated considerable uncertainty about future water availability across the IBIS. This is already affecting rainfall, runoff, and snow- and icemelt, with effects on hydrological systems as well as on groundwater recharge. Food production relies on the inter-relatedness between land, water, and energy systems to produce staple crops. However, there is little known about the state of these systems, the complex interlinkages between key elements and their future resilience in the face of growing climate shocks, and competing food and other water demands within and between countries. Many countries are already facing increased water scarcity under climate change, and therefore there is a critical need for climate adaptation in the water sector. This session will analyze the climate change impact on water and food security in the Indus basin.


Thematic Session 2: Sustainable Groundwater Management in Pakistan

Pakistan has one of the largest groundwater aquifers in the world (fourth after China, India and the United States). At the same time, the Indus Basin is one of thirteen overstressed aquifers where the groundwater withdrawal is estimated to be about 30–65 mm per year. Because there is no regulatory framework for groundwater use, anyone can install any number of tube wells, of any size, at any depth, and can pump out any amount of water at any time. Presently, there are about 1.4 million tube wells in Pakistan, through which about 92 million acre-feet (MAF) of groundwater are pumped out annually to meet irrigation, domestic and industrial demands. This groundwater provides over 60% of the water used for agriculture, over 90% of drinking water and almost 100% of the water used in industry and manufacturing.
Because tube wells have been installed indiscriminately and pumping is unregulated, groundwater is being depleted in many canal commands and almost all urban centers. Out of 45 canal commands, groundwater has been depleted in 26 of those in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. Similarly, the largest groundwater depletion – 6 m per year – was recorded in Quetta Valley, where the depth of tube well drilling has surpassed 350 m. Ensuring long-term potable water supplies is also a serious matter of concern in cities such as Rawalpindi (with groundwater depletion of 2.5 m per year) and Lahore (1 m per year) . Waterlogging and salinity are also major issues in the Lower Indus Plain, where over 40% of the area is either waterlogged or saline. From this perspective, the over-exploitation of this life-sustaining resource undermines the long-term sustainability of groundwater aquifers. In the context of this looming disaster, there is an urgent need to take immediate action. Discussion and deliberation with the international community may help to figure out what are the current the best practices in the rest of the world and brainstorm possible solutions for Pakistan.


Thematic Session 3: The Need for an Integrated Water Resources Management Approach to Improve Water Governance in a Changing Climate

Agricultural water use far exceeds the amount of water currently used by urban areas, industries, and the environment. While this dominance will likely continue, it is now clear that provisions must be made to provide sufficient water for other uses as well. As cities grow, they require additional high-quality water supplies. As Pakistan industrializes, this sector’s water needs are also growing. And the importance of allocating sufficient water to preserve critical natural resources such as wetlands and forests is also now being recognized.
The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principle offers an approach to identifying possible solutions, including introducing technologies or practices to reduce water consumption, recycling water to enable its safe use, and reallocating water for more valuable uses. There have been numerous ongoing discussions in Pakistan on the application of IWRM principles based on the National Water Policy of 2018 and the Provincial Water Acts. However, there is no single definition of what this means and there are few key guidelines on the implementation of this concept on the ground. This session will provide an international perspective on the implementation of IWRM principles in various river basins around the world and how they can be applied in Pakistan.


Thematic Session 4: Environmental Flows are Necessary to Restore the Ecosystem of the Indus Basin

Environmental flows (e-flows) are internationally defined as the quantity, timing, and quality of freshwater flows and levels necessary to sustain aquatic ecosystems which, in turn, support human cultures, economies, sustainable livelihoods, and well-being. One of the great rivers of the world, the Indus River supports a large number of people, many of whom are dependent on its ecosystem resources. As water is progressively withdrawn from the river, it is increasingly necessary to set e-flow targets for the river, so that flows do not decline and people can still benefit. Setting these e-flow targets, and integrating these targets into the management of the basin, are necessary if the river is to be protected. This session will review the practice of e-flow determination and how the management of the Indus would benefit from e-flow implementation.

 


Thematic Session 5: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus for the Indus Basin

The Government of Pakistan has developed several national policies for various sectors including water, agriculture, energy, climate and environment. But currently there is a lack of coherence between the policies for water, food security, energy, and climate change, which hinders implementation on the ground in Pakistan. The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) challenges highlight a wider array of issues surrounding smallholder resilience and the complexity of the pressures they experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted with devastating effect how vulnerable many livelihoods are and how few assets poor farmers (and poor urban workers) have to fall back on. Climate change will exacerbate and multiply the potential impact of future shocks. This session will provide a knowledge platform to better understand the WEF nexus in a changing climate and develop more climate-resilient water and land solutions at multiple scales (farm, irrigation system, basin, country, and regional) in the Indus Basin. The outcome of this session will support climate adaptation interventions at various scales, leading to reduced water consumption from the agricultural sector in major areas of water basins such as the Indus.

Thematic Area 2: Politics, Policy and Institutions – Good governance and strengthening capacities

Thematic Session 1: Policy Coherence, Implementation and Institutional Coordination in the Water, Food, and Energy Sectors in a Changing Climate

Typically, every government has developed national policies for various sectors, including water, agriculture, energy, climate, and the environment. However, there is a lack of coherence between the developed national policies for water, food security, energy, and climate change, which hinders their implementation on the ground. Trade-offs and synergies are often not recognized or managed beneficially in these policies. A critical aspect of effective governance is the engagement of participatory approaches utilizing stakeholder involvement, including the monitoring and evaluation of community responses, to ensure that the priorities of those affected by policies are being met. The strong interdependency between water, energy, food, and climate change in arid and semi-arid regions calls for robust interventions, i.e., an approach that integrates management and governance across sectors, and where conventional policy and decision-making in ‘silos’ gives way to an approach that accounts for trade-offs and builds synergies across sectors in line with the global UN SDGs.


Thematic Session 2: The Role of the Media in Improving Water Conservation in Pakistan

Pakistan’s water scarcity and vulnerability to climate change highlight the need to better manage climate-related risks and for adaptation planning to improve water use at the federal, provincial and district levels. From being a water-abundant country in 1981 to a water-stressed country by 2000, and – based on current trends – a water-scarce one by 2035, efforts at all levels need to be taken. During Pakistan Water Week, a session has been planned to engage senior journalists to moderate discussions with progressive farmers and other concerned journalists who will discuss climate change and water issues on their programs. On the panel, IWMI’s senior researcher will also highlight what actions can be initiated based on scientific research. The session will also discuss increased media engagement and give visibility to the issue by organizing specific shows and discussions during prime time.

 


Thematic Session 3: The Role of Women’s Leadership in Water Management and Food Security

Pakistan is a patriarchal society that upholds traditional gender roles that consider men to be breadwinners and women to be housewives who have all the responsibilities of caring for the family. Women are in subordinate positions in all regions and classes in Pakistan. Their occupational roles are confined by the culture of purdah (veiling) and honour. Both notions restrict their mobility outside their homes.
However, while women constitute almost 50% of the population, the percentage of the workforce that is women is 20.1% as compared to men’s 77%. Despite the restrictions on women’s mobility, surveys reveal important figures about women’s productivity in the agricultural sector. For example, the total labour force engaged in agriculture was 43.7%. Of this agricultural labour force, 75.5% are women. Unfortunately, often men benefit disproportionately more than women when decisions are made in the water and environmental sectors. The purpose of this session will be to highlight the role of women working in the water, agricultural and environmental sectors of Pakistan.


Thematic Session 4: Pathways towards Implementing the National Water Policy: Federal and Provincial Perspectives

The government of Pakistan (GoP) considers water to be a strategic resource since water security is linked to food security and thus to the security of Pakistan. The Pakistani government developed a National Water Policy (NWP) in 2018 with seven key principles and strategic priorities. This policy provides an overall framework and guidelines for a comprehensive action plan to develop sustainable solutions for valuing water.
The government has already made solid progress in achieving a few of the key principles set in the NWP. For example, it is going to build two new water dams (Mohmand and Basha), which is very well-aligned with the priorities of the NWP. In addition, all four provinces are working on developing provincial water acts to comply with the NWP. For example, the Punjab and KP provinces have already approved the Punjab Water Act, 2019, and KP Water Act, 2020, respectively. This session will focus on the progress which different provinces have made implementing the NWP. The dialogue will provide a better understanding on the different initiatives carried out by the federal government and the irrigational departments from the four provinces on the challenges in implementing the National Water Policy.


Thematic Session 5: Is Transparency the Key to Resolving Interprovincial Water Disputes?

We have seen increasing discord between Pakistan’s provinces regarding the distribution of their water shares in recent years. One of the major reasons is the lack of trust in the data that is being reported by the respective provincial governments. One way to address this issue is to make interprovincial flow data publicly accessible and automatically monitored through an independent telemetry system. The provinces of KPK and Punjab have made significant headway in automating flow measurements at key locations. The Indus River Systems Authority (IRSA) is also keen on devising a robust mechanism to independently monitor flow to resolve this lack of trustworthy data. This session will first present the state-of-the-art flow instrumentation work that IWMI has carried out in the past few years in the form of Indus Telemetry to automate flow measurements at key locations. This will set the stage for an informed discussion on the importance of transparency in flow measurement at the interprovincial level. The session will then convene a panel discussion with the representatives of the IRSA and the four provincial governments to discuss the way forward in automating flow measurements at all strategic locations and identifying the bottlenecks to doing so.

Thematic Area 3: Technologies and Innovations – Responding to the challenges
Thematic Session 1: The Role of Digital Innovation Tools in Dealing with Climate Shocks for Sustainable Water Management

Extreme weather events, water crises, the failure to mitigate climate change, and impending threats of biodiversity collapse were all listed as some of the top global risks for 2019. All of these threaten the integrity of vital systems linking the well-being of people and the planet. IWMI recognizes that now is the time to seize the potential of water data and big data tools to catalyze change. Traditional technologies are not able to address 21st-century challenges and thus natural disasters are causing a lot of damage. The session aims to introduce water assessment in managing climate risk and knowledge of international best practices to improve water resources management. Typically, improving water management in irrigated areas requires accurate information on various water balance parameters across different scales (farm/irrigation/basin). This session will focus on the application of innovative and non-conventional approaches for estimating water balance parameters at various spatial scales in both data-sparse and data-rich environments. Big data and tools are already unlocking new potential and improving our resilience to weather-related risk, while also becoming more common in farming with high-tech sensors and drones.


Thematic Session 2: The Real Potential of Solar-based Irrigation in Pakistan

In the recent past, solar pumping technology has emerged as an alternative to diesel and electric pumps. Water professionals in Pakistan are concerned that converting pumps to solar will result in indiscriminate pumping and eventually lead to further groundwater depletion. While Pakistan does not have a specific policy on solar technology for groundwater pumping in agriculture, it does have several policies that have a bearing on it.
The National Water Policy 2018 (NWP-18) makes several references to groundwater pumping, with the goal of regulating groundwater withdrawals in order to curb over-abstraction and promote aquifer recharge. It also aims to develop hydropower to increase the share of renewable energy. As per the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, governance and management of water resources have devolved to the provinces. Each province has embarked on different paths to deliver on the NWP-18. All the provincial governments have planned and/or have launched subsidized solar irrigation pump plans, mostly coupled with High-Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS), especially in Punjab and Sindh. At this point, only the Punjab province has succeeded in implementing its program to some extent, whereas in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces, the programs are at pilot stages, and in Baluchistan, the programs have not been implemented at all.


Thematic Session 3: Nature-Based Solutions for Improving Water Resilience and Sustainability

Nature-based solutions for water (NBSW) are being promoted by the UN, the World Bank, and others to complement and, in some instances, replace traditional engineered (grey) infrastructure. NBSW take many forms but are all inspired and supported by nature and use, or mimic, natural processes to improve the supply and quality of water and/or reduce the impact of climate hazards (e.g., floods and droughts). However, they are not a panacea and may also themselves be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. More evidence is needed to quantify outcomes and better determine the role of NBS in water resource management in any given context. This session will present research conducted in the Indus Basin and elsewhere on NBSW and their potential for meeting contemporary water challenges in Pakistan.

 


Thematic Session 4: Water Productivity – Getting Value from Water

Water productivity is broadly used as an indicator to measure the success of policies aimed at efficient water management and water governance. Over the years, water productivity has focused exclusively on the agricultural sector, ignoring how water has been used in the industrial, domestic and environmental sectors.
There is a growing realization that Pakistan has moved beyond the basics of water infrastructure (efficiency in agricultural water use) and even beyond just water management (at the farm-to-system level). Pakistan needs to extract far more value from this natural resource and from capital in general (land, water, labour, financial, etc.). A major long-term goal is to increase water productivity in all sectors in order to deal with climate uncertainty, which will improve community resilience. This session will stimulate discussion on getting value from water rather than simply dividing water between countries, provinces, irrigation systems, canals, watercourses, farmers, and fields. The session will also provoke discussion around the socio-economic and biophysical best practices to improve water productivity.


Thematic Session 5: Transforming Water Governance through Water Accounting in the Indus Basin

As in many parts of the world, Pakistan’s water scarcity has been attributed to a combination of both natural and anthropogenic factors. An increasingly variable climate has contributed to a greater vulnerability to floods, droughts, and heatwaves. On the management side, poor surface and groundwater governance have reduced system efficiency, resulting in conflicts over water sharing among users. In order for Pakistan to build climate resilience, careful planning, based on up-to-date and regularly reported data on water resources, is critical. Decision-making based on rigorous and scientific data is central to all economies, whether emerging or resilient. In Pakistan, the lack of data availability is the greatest hindrance in effective planning for water resource development, management, and building resilience. In contrast to other South Asian nations, Pakistan does not possess a centralized water resources database. Discussion and deliberation with the international community can contribute to current best practices from around the world and possible water data and solutions for Pakistan.

National Conference and Exhibition

Needs for Sustainable Water Management in a Climate Crisis for Indus Basin
December 8th– 9th, 2021
PCRWR Head Office, Islamabad, Pakistan
1. Public Awareness Campaign:

Pakistan Water Week is the very first event of its kind in Pakistan. International experts on water and national stakeholders will gather to discuss current issues in the water sector along with potential climate resilient solutions. Patronage from national leadership has also supported this event. Activities have also been planned for the private sector as well as for university and school-age students. In this regard, an extensive public campaign will be launched in Islamabad to create awareness among the public. This campaign may be in the form of key messages in both English and Urdu regarding water issues, water conservation, etc. 

Responsible agencies: CCRD, PCRWR, IWMI, CDA

2. Social Media Campaign:

While the public awareness campaign continues in Islamabad, social media will spread key messages from the proceedings of Pakistan Water Week to larger community groups robustly and effectively. In this campaign, youth groups will will work dedicatedly on this campaign in parallel to other activities throughout the water week.

Responsible agencies: Riphah International University, IWMI, and PCRWR

3. Exhibition by the Water Industry, Universities and Government Institutes:

An exhibition by the water industry, universities, government institutes, etc., will be organized. The aim of this exhibition is to link the private water sector industry with the academic community as well as with the public sector. People from different walks of life will be given an opportunity to visit this exhibition and learn about the products and services being offered by this sector. Young entrepreneurs will be encouraged to participate in the exhibition.

Responsible agencies: PCRWR, IWMI

4. Poster and Essay Competition:

This activity is designed to provide a platform to promising students from the undergraduate to PhD levels to showcase research projects related to water resources. The subjects and the thematic areas of the posters will be aligned with the central theme of Pakistan Water Week. After the criterion for the competition is set, the call for posters will appear on the website and educational institutes in the Rawalpindi-Islamabad areas will also be approached. A panel of judges will be set up involving experts from partner organizations. The top three students in each category will be awarded a souvenir/certificate and a cash prize. The essay contest competition 2021 has been launched in partnership with UNICEF.

Responsible agencies: CCRD, PCRWR

5. Raising Awareness through Games among School Students

Games are an effective medium for ‘learning by doing’ along with imbuing the spirit of team building and fair play. In Pakistan, games have not been tested as an informal way of educating school children about water. Curriculum development has been the formal approach for educating school children about water. In this regard, the UNESCO Pakistan office has brought games for children from Indonesia. These games are designed to develop awareness among students and have been proven effective in developing creative thinking about water by invoking water intuitions in their minds. Students in the 8th, 9th, and 10th grades will be invited to participate in games. Prizes will be distributed to the winners of these games.

Responsible agencies: UNESCO, PCRWR

6. Debate Competition

Debate competitions are an extra-curricular way of involving students on the subject of water and Pakistan Water Week. This debate competition is focused more on the expressive skills of students on the subject of water resources. Secondary school and college students will be invited to this debate competition. A call will be given through the website and educational institutes in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. A criterion and debate title will be developed before the call in line with the theme of Pakistan Water Week. A panel of judges will be set up among the experts of the partner organizations. The top three students will be awarded a souvenir/certificate and a cash prize.

Lead Agency: CCRD, PCRWR

PAKISTAN WATER WEEK 2021: 6th – 9th December 2021
Needs for Sustainable Water Management in a Climate Crisis for Indus Basin
International Conference – Mariott Hotel Islamabad, Pakistan
Day 1: Monday – 6th December 2021
Registration/Assembly: 09:00 – 10:30
11:00 – 12:00 Inaugural Session
Arrival of Chief Guest
Recitation from Holy Quran
MC – Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI Pakistan Country Representative
Keynote Speaker – Dr. Mark Smith, IWMI Director General
Remarks by Ms. Simi Kamal, IWMI Board Member
Remarks by Minister, Science and Technology
Speech by the Chief Guest
12:00 – 12:15 Break
12:15 – 13:00 Plenary Session
Keynote Speaker – Dr. Claudia Ringler, Deputy Director, Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE), USA
Ms. Annabel Gerry, FCDO Development Director, Pakistan
Ms. Julie Koenen, USAID Mission Director, Pakistan
Australian High Commissioner, Dr. Geoffrey Shaw, Head of Mission (HOM), Australian High Commission, Islamabad
Ms. Yasmin Siddiqi, Director for Central and West Asia, Asian Development Bank
Ms. Florence Rolle, FAO Representative in Pakistan
Chief Guest, Syed Fakhar Imam – Minister for National Food Security and Research
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources
13:00 – 14:00 Prayer/Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:30 Crystal Ball Room Hall Ambassador Hall II Ambassador Hall III
Thematic Area 1:  Sustainable and Climate Resilient Solutions – Thinking ahead
Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, IWMI Global
Thematic Area 2: Politics, Policy and Institutions – Good governance and strengthening capacities
Mr. Rana Ali Wajid, IFPRI Pakistan
Thematic Area 3: Technologies and Innovations – Responding to the challenges
Dr. Simon Langan, IWMI Global
Thematic Session 1: The Impact of Climate Change on Water and Food Security in the Indus Basin
Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI Pakistan
Thematic Session 1: Policy Coherence, Implementation and Institutional Coordination in the Water, Food, and Energy Sectors in a Changing Climate
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, PCRWR
Thematic Session 1: The Role of Digital Innovation Tools in Dealing with Climate Shocks for Sustainable Water Management
Dr. Simon Langan, IWMI Global
15:30 – 16:00 Coffee/Tea Break
16:00 – 17:30 Crystal Ball Room Hall Ambassador Hall II Ambassador Hall III
Thematic Session 2: Sustainable Groundwater Management in Pakistan
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, PCRWR
Thematic Session 2: The Role of the Media in Improving Water Conservation in Pakistan
Amber Rahim Shamsi
Thematic Session 2: The Real Potential of Solar-Based Irrigation in Pakistan
Dr. Azeem Shah, IWMI Pakistan
End of Day 1
Day 2: Tuesday – 7th December 2021
Registration 8:00 am to 9:00 am
09:00 – 10:30 Kohinoor Hall Ambassador Hall II Ambassador Hall III
Thematic Area 1:  Sustainable and Climate Resilient Solutions – Thinking ahead
Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, IWMI Global
Thematic Area 2: Politics, Policy and Institutions – Good governance and strengthening capacities
Mr. Rana Ali Wajid, IFPRI Pakistan
Thematic Area 3: Technologies and Innovations – Responding to the challenges
Dr. Simon Langan, IWMI Global
Thematic Session 3: The Need for an Integrated Water Resources Management Approach to Improve Water Governance in a Changing Climate
Prof. Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, IWMI Global
Thematic Session 3: The Role of Women’s Leadership in Water Management and Food Security
Amber Rahim Shamsi
Thematic Session 3: Nature-Based Solutions for Improving Water Resilience and Sustainability
Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI Pakistan
11:30 – 11:00 Coffee/Tea Break
11:00 – 12:30 Kohinoor Hall Ambassador Hall II Ambassador Hall III
Thematic Session 4: Environmental Flows are Necessary to Restore the Ecosystem of the Indus Basin
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, PCRWR
Thematic Session4: Pathways towards Implementing the National Water Policy: Federal and Provincial Perspectives
Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI Pakistan
Thematic Session 4: Water Productivity – Getting Value from Water
Dr. Steve Davies, IFPRI USA
12:30 – 13:30 Prayer/Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00 Kohinoor Hall Ambassador Hall II Ambassador Hall III
Thematic Session 5: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus for the Indus Basin
Dr. Claudia Ringler, IFPRI USA
Thematic Session 5: Is Transparency the Key to Resolving Interprovincial Water Disputes?
Dr. Arif Anwar, IWMI Pakistan
Thematic Session 5: Transforming Water Governance through Water Accounting in the Indus Basin
Dr. Usman Khalid Awan, IWMI Pakistan
15:00 – 15:30 Coffee/Tea Break
15:30 – 17:00 Closing Session
Opening Remarks – Dr. Mohammad Ashraf, Chairman PCRWR
Synthesis of Conference Proceeding by three Theme Leaders
COP26 and Pakistan Perspectives on Climate Change – Dr. Rachael Mcdonnell, DDG IWMI Global
Remarks by Public Private Partnership in Water Resources – Zohair Ashar, Governor – Hisaar Foundation
Synthesis of Water Land and Ecoystems (WLE) Program Findings and Book Launch – Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook, Director WLE
Guest of Honour – Malik Amin Aslam, Special Advisor for Ministry of Climate Change
Chief Guest – Mr. Moonis Elahi, Minister for Water Resources
Vote of Thanks – Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI Pakistan Country Representative
End of Day 2
National Conference and Exhibition – PCRWR Head Office Islamabad
Day 3: Wednesday – 8th December 2021
9:00 am -10: 30 am Registration and Poster Set-Up
10:30 am-10:45 am Exhibition Inaugural
10:45 am -11:00 am Coffee/Tea Break
11:00 am -11:30 am Student Board Games and Rules Announcement
13:30 -14:30 Lunch and Prayer Break
14:30-15:30 Evaluation and Announcement of Poster Competition
End of Day 3
Day 4: Thursday – 9th December 2021
9:30 am-10:30 am Registration of Students for Debate Competition
10:30 am -13:30 Debate Competition
13:30-14:30 Lunch and Prayer Break
14:30-15:30 Prize Distribution among Winners of EssayCon, Debate, Poster and Game Competitions
15:30-16:30 Certificate Distribution among Participants of Exhibition
End of Day 4

Sessions Brief

Thematic Area 1: Sustainable and Climate Resilient Solutions – Thinking ahead
Thematic Session 1: The Impact of Climate Change on Water and Food Security in the Indus Basin

Climate change is a key factor affecting the reliability of water resources across the globe, with the incidence of severe droughts and extensive floods increasing in many countries. Globally around 70%, and in the Indus basin specifically, around 90% of freshwater is diverted for food production with normally a very low irrigation efficiency (ranging from 30-50%). As such, much of the water diverted for irrigation and other consumptive uses is lost, with consequential negative impacts on environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The latest IPCC report confirms that climate change has already generated considerable uncertainty about future water availability across the IBIS. This is already affecting rainfall, runoff, and snow- and icemelt, with effects on hydrological systems as well as on groundwater recharge. Food production relies on the inter-relatedness between land, water, and energy systems to produce staple crops. However, there is little known about the state of these systems, the complex interlinkages between key elements and their future resilience in the face of growing climate shocks, and competing food and other water demands within and between countries. Many countries are already facing increased water scarcity under climate change, and therefore there is a critical need for climate adaptation in the water sector. This session will analyze the climate change impact on water and food security in the Indus basin.

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Thematic Session 2: Sustainable Groundwater Management in Pakistan

Pakistan has one of the largest groundwater aquifers in the world (fourth after China, India and the United States). At the same time, the Indus Basin is one of thirteen overstressed aquifers where the groundwater withdrawal is estimated to be about 30–65 mm per year. Because there is no regulatory framework for groundwater use, anyone can install any number of tube wells, of any size, at any depth, and can pump out any amount of water at any time. Presently, there are about 1.4 million tube wells in Pakistan, through which about 92 million acre-feet (MAF) of groundwater are pumped out annually to meet irrigation, domestic and industrial demands. This groundwater provides over 60% of the water used for agriculture, over 90% of drinking water and almost 100% of the water used in industry and manufacturing.
Because tube wells have been installed indiscriminately and pumping is unregulated, groundwater is being depleted in many canal commands and almost all urban centers. Out of 45 canal commands, groundwater has been depleted in 26 of those in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. Similarly, the largest groundwater depletion – 6 m per year – was recorded in Quetta Valley, where the depth of tube well drilling has surpassed 350 m. Ensuring long-term potable water supplies is also a serious matter of concern in cities such as Rawalpindi (with groundwater depletion of 2.5 m per year) and Lahore (1 m per year) . Waterlogging and salinity are also major issues in the Lower Indus Plain, where over 40% of the area is either waterlogged or saline. From this perspective, the over-exploitation of this life-sustaining resource undermines the long-term sustainability of groundwater aquifers. In the context of this looming disaster, there is an urgent need to take immediate action. Discussion and deliberation with the international community may help to figure out what are the current the best practices in the rest of the world and brainstorm possible solutions for Pakistan.

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Thematic Session 3: The Need for an Integrated Water Resources Management Approach to Improve Water Governance in a Changing Climate

Agricultural water use far exceeds the amount of water currently used by urban areas, industries, and the environment. While this dominance will likely continue, it is now clear that provisions must be made to provide sufficient water for other uses as well. As cities grow, they require additional high-quality water supplies. As Pakistan industrializes, this sector’s water needs are also growing. And the importance of allocating sufficient water to preserve critical natural resources such as wetlands and forests is also now being recognized.
The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principle offers an approach to identifying possible solutions, including introducing technologies or practices to reduce water consumption, recycling water to enable its safe use, and reallocating water for more valuable uses. There have been numerous ongoing discussions in Pakistan on the application of IWRM principles based on the National Water Policy of 2018 and the Provincial Water Acts. However, there is no single definition of what this means and there are few key guidelines on the implementation of this concept on the ground. This session will provide an international perspective on the implementation of IWRM principles in various river basins around the world and how they can be applied in Pakistan.

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Thematic Session 4: Environmental Flows are Necessary to Restore the Ecosystem of the Indus Basin

Environmental flows (e-flows) are internationally defined as the quantity, timing, and quality of freshwater flows and levels necessary to sustain aquatic ecosystems which, in turn, support human cultures, economies, sustainable livelihoods, and well-being. One of the great rivers of the world, the Indus River supports a large number of people, many of whom are dependent on its ecosystem resources. As water is progressively withdrawn from the river, it is increasingly necessary to set e-flow targets for the river, so that flows do not decline and people can still benefit. Setting these e-flow targets, and integrating these targets into the management of the basin, are necessary if the river is to be protected. This session will review the practice of e-flow determination and how the management of the Indus would benefit from e-flow implementation.

 

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Thematic Session 5: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus for the Indus Basin

The Government of Pakistan has developed several national policies for various sectors including water, agriculture, energy, climate and environment. But currently there is a lack of coherence between the policies for water, food security, energy, and climate change, which hinders implementation on the ground in Pakistan. The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) challenges highlight a wider array of issues surrounding smallholder resilience and the complexity of the pressures they experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted with devastating effect how vulnerable many livelihoods are and how few assets poor farmers (and poor urban workers) have to fall back on. Climate change will exacerbate and multiply the potential impact of future shocks. This session will provide a knowledge platform to better understand the WEF nexus in a changing climate and develop more climate-resilient water and land solutions at multiple scales (farm, irrigation system, basin, country, and regional) in the Indus Basin. The outcome of this session will support climate adaptation interventions at various scales, leading to reduced water consumption from the agricultural sector in major areas of water basins such as the Indus.

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Thematic Area 2:  Politics, Policy and Institutions – Good governance and strengthening capacities
Thematic Session 1: Policy Coherence, Implementation and Institutional Coordination in the Water, Food, and Energy Sectors in a Changing Climate

Typically, every government has developed national policies for various sectors, including water, agriculture, energy, climate, and the environment. However, there is a lack of coherence between the developed national policies for water, food security, energy, and climate change, which hinders their implementation on the ground. Trade-offs and synergies are often not recognized or managed beneficially in these policies. A critical aspect of effective governance is the engagement of participatory approaches utilizing stakeholder involvement, including the monitoring and evaluation of community responses, to ensure that the priorities of those affected by policies are being met. The strong interdependency between water, energy, food, and climate change in arid and semi-arid regions calls for robust interventions, i.e., an approach that integrates management and governance across sectors, and where conventional policy and decision-making in ‘silos’ gives way to an approach that accounts for trade-offs and builds synergies across sectors in line with the global UN SDGs.

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Thematic Session 2: The Role of the Media in Improving Water Conservation in Pakistan

Pakistan’s water scarcity and vulnerability to climate change highlight the need to better manage climate-related risks and for adaptation planning to improve water use at the federal, provincial and district levels. From being a water-abundant country in 1981 to a water-stressed country by 2000, and – based on current trends – a water-scarce one by 2035, efforts at all levels need to be taken. During Pakistan Water Week, a session has been planned to engage senior journalists to moderate discussions with progressive farmers and other concerned journalists who will discuss climate change and water issues on their programs. On the panel, IWMI’s senior researcher will also highlight what actions can be initiated based on scientific research. The session will also discuss increased media engagement and give visibility to the issue by organizing specific shows and discussions during prime time.

 

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Thematic Session 3: The Role of Women’s Leadership in Water Management and Food Security

Pakistan is a patriarchal society that upholds traditional gender roles that consider men to be breadwinners and women to be housewives who have all the responsibilities of caring for the family. Women are in subordinate positions in all regions and classes in Pakistan. Their occupational roles are confined by the culture of purdah (veiling) and honour. Both notions restrict their mobility outside their homes.
However, while women constitute almost 50% of the population, the percentage of the workforce that is women is 20.1% as compared to men’s 77%. Despite the restrictions on women’s mobility, surveys reveal important figures about women’s productivity in the agricultural sector. For example, the total labour force engaged in agriculture was 43.7%. Of this agricultural labour force, 75.5% are women. Unfortunately, often men benefit disproportionately more than women when decisions are made in the water and environmental sectors. The purpose of this session will be to highlight the role of women working in the water, agricultural and environmental sectors of Pakistan.

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Thematic Session 4: Pathways towards Implementing the National Water Policy: Federal and Provincial Perspectives

The government of Pakistan (GoP) considers water to be a strategic resource since water security is linked to food security and thus to the security of Pakistan. The Pakistani government developed a National Water Policy (NWP) in 2018 with seven key principles and strategic priorities. This policy provides an overall framework and guidelines for a comprehensive action plan to develop sustainable solutions for valuing water.
The government has already made solid progress in achieving a few of the key principles set in the NWP. For example, it is going to build two new water dams (Mohmand and Basha), which is very well-aligned with the priorities of the NWP. In addition, all four provinces are working on developing provincial water acts to comply with the NWP. For example, the Punjab and KP provinces have already approved the Punjab Water Act, 2019, and KP Water Act, 2020, respectively. This session will focus on the progress which different provinces have made implementing the NWP. The dialogue will provide a better understanding on the different initiatives carried out by the federal government and the irrigational departments from the four provinces on the challenges in implementing the National Water Policy.

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Thematic Session 5: Is Transparency the Key to Resolving Interprovincial Water Disputes?

We have seen increasing discord between Pakistan’s provinces regarding the distribution of their water shares in recent years. One of the major reasons is the lack of trust in the data that is being reported by the respective provincial governments. One way to address this issue is to make interprovincial flow data publicly accessible and automatically monitored through an independent telemetry system. The provinces of KPK and Punjab have made significant headway in automating flow measurements at key locations. The Indus River Systems Authority (IRSA) is also keen on devising a robust mechanism to independently monitor flow to resolve this lack of trustworthy data. This session will first present the state-of-the-art flow instrumentation work that IWMI has carried out in the past few years in the form of Indus Telemetry to automate flow measurements at key locations. This will set the stage for an informed discussion on the importance of transparency in flow measurement at the interprovincial level. The session will then convene a panel discussion with the representatives of the IRSA and the four provincial governments to discuss the way forward in automating flow measurements at all strategic locations and identifying the bottlenecks to doing so.

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Thematic Area 3: Technologies and Innovations – Responding to the challenges
Thematic Session 1: The Role of Digital Innovation Tools in Dealing with Climate Shocks for Sustainable Water Management

Extreme weather events, water crises, the failure to mitigate climate change, and impending threats of biodiversity collapse were all listed as some of the top global risks for 2019. All of these threaten the integrity of vital systems linking the well-being of people and the planet. IWMI recognizes that now is the time to seize the potential of water data and big data tools to catalyze change. Traditional technologies are not able to address 21st-century challenges and thus natural disasters are causing a lot of damage. The session aims to introduce water assessment in managing climate risk and knowledge of international best practices to improve water resources management. Typically, improving water management in irrigated areas requires accurate information on various water balance parameters across different scales (farm/irrigation/basin). This session will focus on the application of innovative and non-conventional approaches for estimating water balance parameters at various spatial scales in both data-sparse and data-rich environments. Big data and tools are already unlocking new potential and improving our resilience to weather-related risk, while also becoming more common in farming with high-tech sensors and drones.

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Thematic Session 2: The Real Potential of Solar-based Irrigation in Pakistan

In the recent past, solar pumping technology has emerged as an alternative to diesel and electric pumps. Water professionals in Pakistan are concerned that converting pumps to solar will result in indiscriminate pumping and eventually lead to further groundwater depletion. While Pakistan does not have a specific policy on solar technology for groundwater pumping in agriculture, it does have several policies that have a bearing on it.
The National Water Policy 2018 (NWP-18) makes several references to groundwater pumping, with the goal of regulating groundwater withdrawals in order to curb over-abstraction and promote aquifer recharge. It also aims to develop hydropower to increase the share of renewable energy. As per the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, governance and management of water resources have devolved to the provinces. Each province has embarked on different paths to deliver on the NWP-18. All the provincial governments have planned and/or have launched subsidized solar irrigation pump plans, mostly coupled with High-Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS), especially in Punjab and Sindh. At this point, only the Punjab province has succeeded in implementing its program to some extent, whereas in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces, the programs are at pilot stages, and in Baluchistan, the programs have not been implemented at all.

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Thematic Session 3: Nature-Based Solutions for Improving Water Resilience and Sustainability

Nature-based solutions for water (NBSW) are being promoted by the UN, the World Bank, and others to complement and, in some instances, replace traditional engineered (grey) infrastructure. NBSW take many forms but are all inspired and supported by nature and use, or mimic, natural processes to improve the supply and quality of water and/or reduce the impact of climate hazards (e.g., floods and droughts). However, they are not a panacea and may also themselves be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. More evidence is needed to quantify outcomes and better determine the role of NBS in water resource management in any given context. This session will present research conducted in the Indus Basin and elsewhere on NBSW and their potential for meeting contemporary water challenges in Pakistan.

 

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Thematic Session 4: Water Productivity – Getting Value from Water

Water productivity is broadly used as an indicator to measure the success of policies aimed at efficient water management and water governance. Over the years, water productivity has focused exclusively on the agricultural sector, ignoring how water has been used in the industrial, domestic and environmental sectors.
There is a growing realization that Pakistan has moved beyond the basics of water infrastructure (efficiency in agricultural water use) and even beyond just water management (at the farm-to-system level). Pakistan needs to extract far more value from this natural resource and from capital in general (land, water, labour, financial, etc.). A major long-term goal is to increase water productivity in all sectors in order to deal with climate uncertainty, which will improve community resilience. This session will stimulate discussion on getting value from water rather than simply dividing water between countries, provinces, irrigation systems, canals, watercourses, farmers, and fields. The session will also provoke discussion around the socio-economic and biophysical best practices to improve water productivity.

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Thematic Session 5: Transforming Water Governance through Water Accounting in the Indus Basin

As in many parts of the world, Pakistan’s water scarcity has been attributed to a combination of both natural and anthropogenic factors. An increasingly variable climate has contributed to a greater vulnerability to floods, droughts, and heatwaves. On the management side, poor surface and groundwater governance have reduced system efficiency, resulting in conflicts over water sharing among users. In order for Pakistan to build climate resilience, careful planning, based on up-to-date and regularly reported data on water resources, is critical. Decision-making based on rigorous and scientific data is central to all economies, whether emerging or resilient. In Pakistan, the lack of data availability is the greatest hindrance in effective planning for water resource development, management, and building resilience. In contrast to other South Asian nations, Pakistan does not possess a centralized water resources database. Discussion and deliberation with the international community can contribute to current best practices from around the world and possible water data and solutions for Pakistan.

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Organizers

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Partners

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No.
Name
Position
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1 Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Chairman PCRWR, Pakistan
2 Prof. Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook Director, CGIAR’s Water Land and Ecosystem (WLE) Flagship, Sri Lanka
3 Dr. Mohsin Hafeez Country Representative IWMI Pakistan
MEMBERS
4 Dr. Claudia Ringler Deputy Division Director, IFPRI USA
5 Ms. Simi Kamal IWMI Board Member, Pakistan
6 Engr. Faizan ul Hasan Secretary, PCRWR Pakistan
7 Mr. Zohair Ashir Board of Governor, Hisaar Foundation
8 Engr. Mushtaq Gill Executive Director, SACAN Pakistan
9 Dr. Usman Khalid Awan Water Resources Specialist, IWMI Pakistan
10 Dr. Hifza Rasheed Director General, PCRWR Pakistan
11 Ms. Bareerah Fatima Deputy Director, PCRWR Pakistan
12 Dr Azeem Shah Senior Regional Researcher, IWMI Pakistan
COMMUNICATION TEAM
13 Ms. Samurdhi Ranasinghe Senior Communication Officer, IWMI Sri Lanka
14 Mr. Sarfraz Ali Communication Consultant, IWMI Pakistan
15 Mr. Amjad Jamal Communication Specialist, IWMI Pakistan
16 Mr. Salahuddin Deputy Director, PCRWR Pakistan
LOGISTICS TEAM
17 Mr. Malik Arshad Khan Director, PCRWR Pakistan
18 Mr. Tabriz Ahmad Admin Officer, IWMI Pakistan