Monday – Tuesday, February 13 – 14, 2023, Okara: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan organized a two-day capacity building training workshop for officials from Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) and On Farm Water Management (OFWM), and faculty and students from University of Okara and University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) sub-campus Depalpur.
Hafsa Aeman, Senior Research Officer – Geoinformatics, IWMI Pakistan, was the lead trainer of the workshop. According to her, “The workshop was aimed to increase the knowledge and understanding of open-source GPS data collection tools and provide in-depth insight of various applications and benefits of these technologies for enhanced decision-making in government departments, particularly Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) and On Farm Water Management (OFWM), and academia.”
The welcome note was given by Prof Dr Sajid Rashid Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, University of Okara, who stressed upon adopting GIS technology in agriculture sector for innovation. He also highlighted the need to foster collaboration among academia and training institutions for knowledge sharing.
Prof Dr Sajid Rashid offered full support to IWMI for capacity building initiatives and research efforts.
According to Dr Ansir Ilyas, Researcher – Water Resources Management, IWMI Pakistan, “Our training program provided hands-on demonstration of Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS) and its application in survey techniques. The participants gained deeper understanding of how DGNSS can revolutionize surveying projects through practical demonstrations and on-ground scenarios. It was specifically designed to enhance the capacity of government officials and other stakeholders by equipping them with necessary tools and knowledge needed to stay ahead in the constantly evolving world of surveying.”
The IWMI team demonstrated the actual setup of Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) to help participants understand the use of DGPS for increased accuracy and for identifying the mean sea level. The participants were tasked to find the accurate location using DGPS and its potential application.
Dr Habib Ullah Habib, Director, OFWM Research Farm (Renala Khurd), OFWM, in his closing remarks said, “The application of GPS and GIS in agriculture is important to measure crop growth and take timely decisions for improved crop productivity. The workshop was useful for OFWM officials and we hope that IWMI will organize such trainings to further capacitate our staff on the use of Remote Sensing (RS) and GIS mapping.
The workshop was organized as part of the Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG), implemented by IWMI Pakistan with funding from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Okara is the pilot district of the programme, where different interventions related to water governance such as groundwater monitoring, water accounting, water allocation system, and irrigation demand management shall be introduced.