IWMI organizes workshop on water accounting, management

LAHORE   -  The International Water Man­agement Institute (IWMI) Paki­stan organised a consultation workshop on water accounting for accurate assessment of wa­ter resources in Punjab, which was attended by experts from government departments, poli­cymakers, and academia.

The workshop was organised under the UK Aid-funded Wa­ter Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG).

Addressing the event Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Director - Wa­ter, Food and Ecosystems/Team Leader, WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG said, “The government has informa­tion of surface water for the Indus Basin but groundwater data is unavailable. This ob­structs accurate decision-mak­ing for water management. The development of national water accounting framework will al­low the government to make informed decisions.” 

Dr. Mohsin also informed that IWMI Pakistan under the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG will be developing a wa­ter accounting framework at the federal, provincial (Punjab) and district (Okara) level. IWMI Pakistan is installing Eddy Co­variance flux towers in Okara, Chakwal, Rahim Yar Khan, and Sheikhupura, which will pro­vide data regarding water and carbon emissions in agriculture. It will also contribute towards agro-ecological zoning.

Engr. Habib Ullah Bodlah, Chief Engineer – Lahore, Pun­jab Irrigation Department (PID), discussed the prepara­tion of water accounts by In­dus River System Authority (IRSA) at the provincial level. According to him, “The prov­inces prepare water accounts of their canal system with re­spect to canal allocations and deliveries. The same are shared with agriculture department and other stakeholders for comments.” He also informed that the Programme Monitor­ing and Implementation Unit (PMIU) - a special unit of PID, is mandated to monitor these allocations and deliveries from main canal to tertiary canal level. Thus, determining unac­counted water from each canal water accounts. Similarly, Wa­ter Resources Zone (WRZ) has been established at the provin­cial level (Punjab), which will be responsible for groundwater monitoring and management, and is also preparing Ground­water Management Informa­tion System (GMIS), similar to Irrigation Management Infor­mation System (IMIS) for sur­face water. The Chief Engineer Lahore informed that PID is also preparing models for crop water requirement in order to make its canal indents more in­telligent by using GIS/Remote Sensing (RS) products.

Dr. Maqsood Ahmad, Director, Water Management Training In­stitute (WMTI), On Farm Water Management (OFWM) Punjab, informed that OFWM Punjab is providing technical and finan­cial support to the farmers for adoption of new technologies/practices, as well as building their capacity for successful adoption of latest technologies for improving water use effi­ciency in agriculture, including drip and sprinkler irrigation systems and using other gad­gets. He said, “If a farmer is not doing water accounting and budgeting of water resources available at his farm for effi­cient management, he will not be able to maximise the agricul­tural output. Under a new World Bank-funded project, 72 wa­tercourses across Punjab have been selected for water account­ing and budgeting, where all the farmers will be provided techni­cal support to prepare complete inventory of all available water resources at their farms, formu­late water budget for the crops, adjust cropping patterns as per available resources, and maxi­mise agricultural productivity through better management.”

A group discussion on key water accounting challenges, gaps, and way forward was also held, in which participants were divided in groups to de­liberate on the development of Punjab level water account­ing system and its integration with water monitoring system, ensuring the reliability of data, capacity building of institutes, and having necessary policy frameworks in place.

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