ISLAMABAD - Three experts from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are conducting water-resource workshops in Islamabad this week to support the Pakistan Water Dialogue Project.

According to a statement issued here, eighty-five senior officials and technical experts from the federal and provincial ministries, universities, and NGOs are attending the events, which were organized by USDA and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first workshop, the US Embassy's Agriculture Counselor David Williams said the Pakistan Water Dialogue Project helps farmers to more efficiently capture, store, and use water for agriculture.

The USDA experts who are leading the workshops include Michael Kucera, an agronomist at USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service, Jon Fripp, a Stream Mechanics Civil Engineer at USDA's Construction and Soil Management Center and  Hilary Landfried, a program manager with the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service's Office of Capacity Building and Development.

For six years now, the USDA, with support from the United States Agency for International Development, has worked to improve watershed rehabilitation and irrigation by promoting practices and technologies that assist in water and soil conservation. In 2016, the USDA and ICARDA began Phase II of the Pakistan Water Dialogue: Diffusion and Adoption through Partnerships and Action of the Best Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Practices.

This programme builds upon management practices developed in the earlier Watershed programme.

 The USDA's work began in 2011, in partnership with ICARDA, with a five-year programme to help rural farmers. The project established over 40 demonstration sites, published 150,000 brochures, held 240 farmers' field days, and reached 14,000 farmers.

Due to these efforts, more than 1,500 farmers have already adopted one or more of the promoted technologies. The USDA also partnered with the International Water Management Institute from 2013-2015. This programme brought together local officials and USDA technical experts to develop the Pakistan Water Dialogue Consensus Action Plan.