islamabad - Floods and droughts are the major global challenges for the 21st century while only 2.5% of the water found on the surface of the earth is available as freshwater, experts said on Wednesday.

Riphah Institute of Public Policy, a constituent institute of Riphah International University, in collaboration with Pakistan Council of research in Water Resources convened World Water Day here.

The event provided an opportunity to share experiences and engage in dialogue regarding addressing water issues.  A poster competition on water conservation, wastewater management was also organized in which students presented their research work on the said topics

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, PCRWR said that water is not only a life sustaining resource but also accounts for social well-being and economic prosperity. It plays an important role in managing a healthy ecosystem.

Hassan Muhammad Khan, Chancellor, Riphah International University said that floods and droughts are considered major water challenges for 21st century which are further worsened by phenomena of global warming and climate change.

He said that climatic analysis dictates that the amount of rainfall has been increased annually but there is usually no rainfall when it is required for the growth of crops. On the contrary, the heavy rainfall triggers damages infrastructure, property and crops and leads to loss of human lives. The tsunami and other recent flooding events in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China are the worst examples of these disasters.

There is a need to pursue ecosystem management effectively. This will not only offer an opportunity to strengthen natural infrastructure and human resilience against hazard impacts, but also generate a range of other social, economic and environmental benefits for multiple stakeholders.