The water experts have underlined the need for building water reservoirs, preparation of water policy and research in order to form framework to combat water crisis and challenges in the country.
They expressed these views in a meeting on "Water Resources Challenges of Pakistan" held at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro on Friday, which was organised by US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W).
Former Sindh Irrigation secretary and water expert Idris Rajput, while delivering his presentation on 'Inter-Provincial Water Issues of Pakistan' said that water disputes between Sindh and Punjab dates back to British Rule when new canals, barrages and dams were planned, constructed or envisioned.
He said that various commissions and committees were formed to resolve the water dispute but failed since Anderson Committee 1935 to Haleem Commission in 1983 because of three main reasons of the dispute including shortage of water, injustice in distribution and fear of future impact.
He said that upper riparian always being benefited in distribution of water at the cost of their counterpart of lower riparian due to various reasons.
He said that Water Accord of 1991 was signed unanimously but the dispute between the provinces is still persisting since its implementations.
He further said that since the storage capacity of Tarbela and Mangla dams were reduced 29 percent and 15 percent respectively, the replacement dam could be viable to store surplus water.
Former Planning and Development federal secretary Fazullah Qureshi presented statistical information on Water Governance and Institutional Performance. He said that agricultural use of water in Pakistan is very much high as compared to its productivity and there is no relationship found between cultivation of crops and collection of revenues particularly in Sindh.
He suggested that improved governance, better agriculture extension practices, better public services, proper water charges and accountability in every sphere can pave the way for better water governance and its productive use.
Dr Muhammad Aslam Chaudhary from University of Utah, United States said that through the framework of actions the water challenges of Pakistan could be overcome.
He said that USPCAS-W will initiate to collect data and serve as clearinghouse on water related problems in Pakistan.
Dr Chaudhry said that water problems of Pakistan should be prioritised as the applied and action research can be done accordingly. Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam Vice Chancellor Dr Mujeebuddin Memon moderated the meeting while Mehran University Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Aslam Uqaili in his conclusion remarks said that academia, civil society and water research centre have to work in coordination for the solution of water challenges faced by Pakistan today.
He said that applied research that will be transformed into policy, which would improve water governance of the country. Council for Research and Policy was formed on this occasion that would work as a think tank of this water research center, he added.
Project Director Dr Bakhshal Khan Lashari briefed about USPCAS-W - a USAID funded water research centre
Among others, Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) Managing Director Babar Effendi, SIDA General Manager Nazir Ahmed Essani, WAPDA General Manager Irshad Bohio, Chotiari Reservoir Sanghar Superintending Engineer Zarif Khero, Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP) Project Coordinators Prof Dr Suleman Qazi, MUET Dean Dr G B Khaskheli, civil society activist Prof Mushtaq Mirani, Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mehmood Nawaz Shah, growers' representatives, faculty members of USPCAS-W and other participated in the meeting.