Capacity Development Workshop on Groundwater Monitoring, Data Acquisition and Instrumentation, May 22-23, 2023, PCRWR Headquarters, Islamabad

PCRWR in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) organized a two days capacity development workshop on, groundwater monitoring, data acquisition and instrumentation at PCRWR Headquarters, Islamabad, 22-23 May, 2023. This workshop is a part of the USAID-funded project titled, “Water Management for Enhanced Productivity (WMfEP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During this workshop, 15 professionals participated representing provincial department of agriculture, public health engineering (PHED), irrigation and academia, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The resource persons including, Dr. Naveed Iqbal, Director-PCRWR, Engr. Zia ul Haq, Deputy Director-PCRWR, Dr. Tauseef Bhatti, Deputy Chief of Party-IWMI and Dr. Sarfaraz Munir, Regional Reseracher-IWMI will impart training on latest methods and instruments being used for groundwater assessment, monitoring and management.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Azeem Ali Shah, Chief of Party, WMfEP, IWMI presented a detailed overview of the project and work executed under the project. He briefed that the main objective of this project is to help the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government with better water management and governance to uplift the socio-economic status of the communities in the command area of the project. This training workshop is part of that project and a great platform to learn about groundwater monitoring and data acquisition for effective decision-making.
During his remarks, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, PCRWR emphasized the need for maintaining a balance between groundwater abstraction and recharge. He also shared that groundwater is a precious hidden resource, which needs to be used efficiently. It acts as a buffer against flooding and drought. The groundwater resource is under immense stress, due to the rapid increase in population and urbanization, Moreover, groundwater quality is also deteriorating due to over-exploitation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to focus on rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge for the sustainability of the sector. He also highlighted different initiatives of PCRWR towards groundwater resources management in the country. He further explained that this training will provide a platform to learn about the different methods of groundwater monitoring and hands-on training will help build the capacity to cope with the issues related to groundwater management.
Mr. Muhammad Nawaz, Development Specialist, USAID-Pakistan, highlighted that groundwater has not been given prime importance as surface water. No regulatory framework or policy related to groundwater existed in the country which encourages users to abstract this precious resource without taking care of it. He urges to create harmony among the policies related to Water, climate change and groundwater regulation. He also showed his reservations that if the issues about groundwater will not address timely then Pakistan may face acute water scarcity. A collaborative approach involving all stakeholders from decision-makers to communities will be helpful to combat the issues.
In the end, Dr. Touseef Bhatti, Deputy Chief of Party, WMfEP, IWMI described briefly the expected outcomes of the training workshop. He stated that the training has been organized systematically to engage different stakeholders from government and private organizations of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This training is a great opportunity to enhance interaction and coordination among the stakeholders.