Thursday, January 26, 2023, Okara: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan organized a stakeholders’ workshop on future water availability for Okara district at IWMI Pakistan’s field office in Okara.
Punjab Water Act 2019 is a key legislation to regulate water use and provide enabling policy support for its sustainability across Punjab province. Punjab Water Commission and Punjab Water Services Regulatory Authority have been established. However, at the district Okara level, the knowledge and understanding of Punjab Water Act 2019 is limited.
The workshop was organized as part of the Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Program 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).
Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative – Pakistan, IWMI and Project Leader, WRAP Program Component 1: CRS-IWaG gave an overview of the program and ways it will benefit district Okara. According to him, “Okara is the pilot district where different interventions related to water governance such as groundwater monitoring, water accounting, water allocation system, and irrigation demand management shall be introduced. There is strong ownership of the proposed interventions by the government and hopefully they’ll be replicated to other districts of Punjab, once successfully piloted.”
Dr. Muhammad Javed, Director, Social and Environment Management, Strategic Planning and Reform Unit (SPRU), Punjab Irrigation Department (PID), gave a presentation on water-related challenges in Punjab and the salient features of Punjab Water Act 2019.
Dr. Maqsood Ahmad, Director, Training/Lahore Office, On Farm Water Management (OFWM), Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) gave a presentation on the significance of Punjab Water Act 2019 for agriculture sector.
Kanwal Waqar, Researcher – Gender and Youth Specialist, IWMI Pakistan in her presentation informed that around 70 per cent women are involved in the agriculture sector but their contribution is not recognized. She called for adopting gender inclusive and equitable approach in policies, programs, and activities.
Dr. Abdur Rehman Cheema, Regional Researcher – Water Governance and Institutional Specialist, IWMI Pakistan moderated a roundtable dialogue on ways to address water governance, social inclusion, and sustainability in the water sector. Farmers and urban water users actively participated in the dialogue.
Officials from the district government, PID, OFWM, Public Health Engineering Department, Tehsil Municipal Administration, urban households, farmers, academia, and media participated in the workshop.
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