Rawalpindi - Speakers at a training session held here on Thursday stressed the need for integrated water management to address the need of agriculture sector and welfare of communities.

They said that innovative and integrated water management and harvesting techniques should be adopted for safeguarding the water reservoirs.

The three-day training on ‘Innovative and Sustainable Water Harvesting Techniques for Agriculture’ was inaugurated at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.

The training was organised by Department of Environmental Sciences in collaboration with Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (IADC) with an aim to acquire up-to-date knowledge about water harvesting techniques.

The inaugural session was chaired by Dr Sarwat N Mirza, VC PMAS-AAUR, while Dr Abid Mahmood, DG Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad was the chief guest. Dr Santa Mole, director IADC, Dr Mauro Centritto, director Research Council, Italy, Dr Kostas Chartzoulakis, irrigation expert from Greece and Asad Khan, former consultant FAO and USAID, faculty members and students were also present at the inaugural session.

Dr Sarwat N Mirza said on the occasion that PMAS-AAUR was committed to solve water governance issues of the country and collaboration with Italian agency would be helpful for better understanding of water issues of Pakistan through advanced research-based studies. He hoped that it would also help to improve water governance at micro level.

The VC appreciated the initiatives taken for sustainability of water, particularly in carrying out the project. He said that such collaborative efforts, training programmes and expert gathering would open new doors to enhance cooperation.

Dr Abid said that water was a key to socio-economic development of a country and emphasised the need of adopting sustainable water management techniques.

He said that the country was heading towards water stress and emphasised on the conservation of water from household to farm level. He suggested that students and civil society had to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus, as, he said, larger water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani. He also pointed out that it was the right time to start literacy programmes focusing attention on importance of fresh water and advocating for sustainable management of water resources.

Dr Santa Mole and Dr Mauro Centritto in their addresses discussed water demand and management practices and said that innovative water harvesting techniques were need of the hour for Pakistan’s current situation which could be applied to water-scarce regions.

Asad Khan said that with the rapid increase in population, water sufficiency had become challenge to meet the amplifying demands along with food and energy. He underscored importance of Nexus Steward Approach to tackle the challenges and to optimise energy efficiency of water management, treatment, distribution and end use system.