Thursday, February 23, 2023, Okara: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan organized a consultative workshop with Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry on water issues to identify the challenges faced by industrial water users in district Okara.
Dr Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative – Pakistan and Regional Representative – Central Asia, IWMI, welcomed the stakeholders and participants, and highlighted the impacts of climate change on Pakistan and its industrial sector. He also shared how IWMI Pakistan through the FCDO-funded Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG), will improve water governance in district Okara, through enhanced water availability for various sectors, especially the industrial sector.
According to Dr Mohsin Hafeez, “Okara is the pilot district for WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG, where different interventions related to water governance shall be introduced to benefit different water users, including the industrial sector. IWMI Pakistan has established its field office in district Okara to directly work with the industrial sector and address their water-related challenges. Better water governance will improve industrial output and contribute to the GDP.”
The welcome note was given by Col (R) Muhammad Mazhar, Member, Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry. According to him, “Pakistan is witnessing greater water insecurity. The industrial sector in district Okara relies on groundwater for industrial purposes, especially for cooling. The water after being used is not recycled and is drained in nullahs and streams, which pollutes our water bodies. We are willing to work with IWMI Pakistan for better management of water resources.”
Dr Abdur Rehman Cheema, Regional Researcher – Water Governance and Institutional Specialist, IWMI Pakistan, moderated a dialogue with the members of Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry on water availability challenges and coping strategies by the industrial sector. According to him, “The impacts of climate change are being felt across the country, which is threatening our water security and affecting our economy, livelihoods, and environment. Water conservation and sustainability cannot be achieved in a silo approach. Today’s consultation with Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry has helped to highlight the current and future water challenges faced by the industrial sector in district Okara and potential strategies to cope with them.”
Industrialists participating in the workshop also shared their insights on water-related challenges faced in district Okara and the support required from IWMI Pakistan in addressing them.
Ch Habib Ul Haq, Executive Committee Member, Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry, delivered a vote of thanks and appreciated IWMI Pakistan’s role in organizing the workshop and giving voice to their concerns. He suggested promoting low delta crops that require less water to cope with water shortages and reduce pressure on groundwater. He hoped that the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG will contribute towards enhancing the availability of water and promoting sustainability of the industrial sector in district Okara.
The training workshop was attended by the members of Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry.