SARGODHA - Experts on Wednesday underscored the need for increasing the irrigation proficiency from 41.5% to 55 %, discouraging the cultivation of crops needed more water and raising awareness among the public about saving water through media campaigns to tackle the emerging water challenges in the country. Field experts, academia and PhD scholars from across the country expressed the opinion at a daylong national conference titled: “Emerging Water Challenges in Pakistan” organised by Sargodha University here on Wednesday.

The UoS Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) organised the conference in collaboration with the Pakistan Institute of China Studies. The experts expressed that the current water shortage is very much an issue of mismanagement of resources and unnecessary wastage of water caused by shortsighted planning that does not take worst-case scenarios into account - until it is too late. The participants shared their research papers and presentations over various aspects and challenges, facing by the Pakistan due to water scarcity on national and international fronts and recommendations to deal with it. The water experts shared models of efficient use of water to irrigate agricultural land which will lessen the need of constructing dams. They emphasized on the need of cultivating crops which consumed less water as there was no shortage of the water but the problem was water management. Dr Muhammad Nawaz, associate professor of DPIR, Sargodha University presented his research on ‘Challenges to Water Governance and Security in the Indus River Basin: A study of Indus Water Basin’: Robina Khan, A PhD scholar shared her research titled ‘Pakistan-India Water conflict: A Causal Analysis’. Speakers informed the audience that South Asian countries were facing tremendous water challenges to fulfil their domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural needs while Pakistan is among the top three largest water stressed countries in the world. They showed serious concerns over water scarcity in Pakistan as 65% of the total population directly or indirectly were associated with agriculture and contributing 21% of the GDP.

At the end, critical questions from the students and convincing responses by the speakers generated interesting debate in Q&A session.

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, UoS Vice Chancellor; Dr Fazalur Rehman, Director PICS and Dr Muhammad Azam, the Chairman DPIR presented certificates to the participants.