LAHORE - Water resources are under immense pressure from climate change, soaring demand for water in domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors. There is an urgent need for communities, companies and governments to come up with innovative solutions to secure water that can help maintain the balance between people and nature. This was stated by WWF-Pakistan on the occasion of World Water Week that began on August 26.

To commemorate World Water Week, WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Leather Product Development Institute (LPDI) organized two-day awareness sessions in Sialkot. The sessions focused on raising awareness on water challenges, risks and effective management of available water resources in the country. An art competition was also organized for students from the Fine Arts Department at LPDI who created unique paintings that showed the linkage between biodiversity and water.

This year the theme of World Water Week was ‘water, ecosystems and human development.’ World Water Week provides an opportunity to scientists, policymakers, private sector and civil society actors to network, exchange ideas and foster new thinking around the most pressing water-related challenges.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said that it is important to value Pakistan’s water bodies, particularly rivers and lakes. To achieve sustainable development goals, it is urgent to manage them efficiently and conserve other water resources. He shared that Pakistan is a water scarce country due to mismanagement and ill-planning of resources. He informed that Pakistan’s per capita surface water availability has declined from 5,260 cubic metres per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic metres in 2016. He also warned that this quantity is likely to drop further to about 860 cubic metres by 2025. The rapid rise in population will further aggravate the water situation. He emphasized that water, ecosystems and their impact on human development require collective action and business ecosystem strategies.

To raise awareness and educate the masses, WWF-Pakistan is also hosting a 10 litre water challenge, a short video competition for the young generation. The aim of this competition is to make the youth understand the water issues in Pakistan. Under this challenge, students will spend 24 hours by using only 10 litres of water. This includes water consumed in all daily activities including the water used to prepare meals, bathe and washing of clothes. The experience will be documented by the students and will make the public understand how hard it is to spend a day with such little water. In this way the water challenge will change student’s perspective about freshwater use and management.