ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Council for Research and Water Resources (PCRWR) has planned to expand the scope of `Irrigation Advisory SMS facility for the farmers.

It will increase the number of registered farmers from existing 20,000 up to 100,000 soon. The service was launched in April 2016 as an outcome of international collaboration extended by University of Washington (UW) and NASA with an aim to help reduce over watering and enhance crop yields for Pakistani farmers.

“The University of Washington is providing real time daily Potential Evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation for entire Pakistan using NASA’s remotely sensed data.

PCRWR determined crop coefficients (Kc) for different crops in different agro-climatic zones of Pakistan,” an official told APP.

PCRWR has planned to provide its Irrigation Advisory Service to 100,000 farmers now while in the long run, the council envisions extending it to all farmers of irrigated areas through international and national coordination, he added.

The service, he said, had already been informing the farmers of 41 districts (irrigated areas) about their net weekly irrigation requirements, considering Evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation.  He added that around 90 percent of the water was consumed in the agriculture sector of the country and most of it was wasted due to improper utilization.

The objective behind initiating this service was to conserve this water through educating farmers about actual water requirement for their crops. The farmers, through this service, get weekly information on how much water their crop was needed and if there was chances of any rain or not during the next week.

He said through this service, if they could even save only one percent of the whole, it would be a big achievement for us and help overcome the looming threat of acute water scarcity in the years to come.