Pakistan’s per capita water availability has dwindled from 5,260 cubic metres in 1951 to 1,000 this year, a threshold value under the global criteria, putting the food security at risk, reveals an expert at a seminar which was titled “Water and Biodiversity” and held in connection with International Day for Biological Diversity.

The seminar was arranged by the Department of Zoology, Government College University Faisalabad. Vice Chancellor Dr Zakir Hussain detailed that per capita water availability has decreased from 5,260 cubic metres in 1951 to 1,000. If the status quo continues, it will further drop to the worst level of 575 cubic metres by 2050.

He said that the country can experience intensified water shortage in term of per capita water availability if tangible steps were not taken to increase the water storage capacity and raise awareness among the people regarding rational water usage. Quoting example, he said that the United States has water storage capacity of 900 days only on River Colorado, Egypt 1,000 on River Nile, and South Africa 500 days on River Orange.

He said that in 2010-11, 54.5MAF water went down to sea which was around 11 times equal to storage of Mangalla dam. The situation demands small and huge water storage reservoirs to save the water to cope with the challenges. He said the United Nations has placed Pakistan among the “water hotspots” of Asia-Pacific Region. He said that the country faces major threats of increasing water scarcity.

Talking about power generation, he said, “By taking measures, we can produce 1,500 KW of electricity from the canal water and 1000 megawatts from the waste of sugarcane. The International Day for Biological Diversity is an occasion to increase the global understanding and awareness of issues and challenges around biodiversity.”

Dean Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi, Dr Muhammad Ashraf from the University of Agriculture, WWF Director Programme Dr Ghulam Akbar and Dr Mushatqul Hassan also spoke on the occasion.

Dr Naureen said that this year’s theme of the International Day stressed the important role of biodiversity and ecosystem in providing water and therefore for sustainable development. She said that the key message is the biodiversity, a solution to help achieve water security. Dr Muhammad Ashraf said that water is essential to support the biodiversity. Without sufficient water, stresses on species increase global biodiversity losses, he noted and said that losing the biodiversity is a like losing the life support system.

QUALITY EDUCATION KEY TO PROSPERITY: Quality assurance in the institutions of higher learning is the key to achieve excellence in education and research thereby making progress and achieving prosperity, said an educationist.

Addressing the participants of workshop organised by Directorate of Quality Enhancement of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad at Video Conference Hall on Thursday, Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan stressed the need for transformation in the field of Higher Education through adopting strict measures for quality mechanism.

He was of the view that during last few decades, growth in the University enrollments has been occurred. “We are facing challenges to accommodate more desirous students in the days to come. UAF by adopting QEC measures initiated by Higher Education Commission (HEC) has obtained 142nd position among top 150 Universities of the World which of course is honour for the nation,” he said.

The VC stressed the need for allocation of maximum resources for the education sector in order to bringing economic and developmental revolution in the country. He added that accreditation mechanism initiated by HEC is the best option for the assurance of quality in professional degree programmes. QEC Director Dr Ahrar Ahmad Khan highlighted the role of his office. He said that UAF was adopting strict measures for ensuring standards of quality at the Campus. He added that it was second main event to create awareness regarding quality assurance among young teachers and researchers. Dr Abdul Wahid, Chairman Department of Botany and others also spoke on the occasion.