HYDERABAD - Sindh Education Minister Jam Methab Hussain Dehar along with (USAID) Mission Director Jerry Bisson and Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbal Thursday inaugurated the newly established building of ‘US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Study in Water (USPCAS-W)’ at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the minister termed that USPCAS-W, a vision which turned into reality and it is a start of a new era of accelerated development and more importantly a value-added dimension of the Center for achieving its overall objectives for transforming the Water Center into world class Center of Excellence for its sustainability by producing technically qualified water leaders. It will be contributing to the economy of the country by way of resolving water-related challenges, he added.

He extended thanks and appreciation to the American people and US Agency for International Development (USAID) for full financial support, including funding for this Center, and also thanks to the University of Utah for providing technical and capacity building support for the Center.

He also congratulated to the Vice Chancellor Mehran University and the Project Director of the Center for having such state-of-the-art building, adding that water-related challenges of the country which are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted could be addressed in accordance with the latest methods and technologies of water preservation.

He said that water shortage, low system efficiency, conventional irrigation methods leading to inefficient use of water resources, low water productivity, mining of ground water including brackish water, limited availability of clean drinking water and so on were the key issues which needs to be addressed. This is beside the challenges related to limited storage capacity and decreasing availability of water from the current water storage structures, he added.

He said that effective development and management of the country’s water resources were therefore vital to Pakistan’s overall economic development, food security and health of its population. “We need to take necessary steps on war footing which require policy makers, researchers, advocacy groups, development professionals and civil society groups to join hands to draw appropriate plans and policies to sensitize and engage all stakeholders on critical water issues, challenges and opportunities in order to address the above challenges and achieve sustainable water development and management, he added.

He expressed his satisfaction to note that the Center was focusing on water-related issues in a big way and as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals, more particularly water-related SDGs which is crucial for advancing sustainable water development, given the enormity of water crisis Pakistan is facing.

“It is encouraging to note that the three flagship projects viz. Pakistan Water Development Report (PWDR), MUET Clean Water Project (MUET CWP) and Indus River Basin Model: Decision Support System, now underway at the Center, provides necessary base and analytical framework for planning and resolution of water-related issues and it also serves as a laboratory for testing and development of water-related technologies,” he added.

He informed that Sindh Government has also taken various steps in the water sector with objective to ensure an effective mechanism of utilization of water. The provincial Planning and Development Department has established SDG Unit to coordinate planning, implementation and monitoring of the activities related to SDGs at the provincial level and also with similar units established at the national level, he informed.

He informed that Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP) was also part of the Planning and Development Department and engaged in improving water use efficiency, overcoming water scarcity and implementation of IWRM plans. b We are also focusing our efforts to ensure supply of safe drinking water and sanitation servicesb , the minister informed and added that Clean Water Project of Mehran University is also part of this initiative and many other projects.

He hoped this Water Center at the Mehran University will continue to play an important advocacy role in addition to building social and human capital, and providing evidence-based policy analysis and advice and also will come up with the sustainable solutions for the water-related problems of Pakistan.

Among others, (US AID) Mission Director Jerry Bisson and Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbal, Vice Chancellor Mehran University Dr Muhammad Aslam Uqaili and former Vice Chancellor Prof. S.M. Qureshi also addressed the participants of the inauguration ceremony.