Mehran University of Engineering Seminar on ‘Water Governance

KARACHI:August 05: An executive seminar on ‘Water governance in Pakistan’ was organised by the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W), as collaboration between Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET), Jamshoro, and the University of Utah, USA.
The US-Pakistan Centres for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) has been designed to support Pakistan’s economic development by strengthening universities and encouraging applied research in energy, water, and agriculture and food security. The $127 million United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, was launched at Islamabad earlier in June this year.
USPCAS-W has been established through a cooperative agreement between MUET and University of Utah. The centre will generate cost-effective and sustainable solutions to Pakistan’s challenges related to water and educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and policy makers through innovative academic programs in water that are focused on applied research to solve Pakistan’s water problems. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the executive seminar, US Consul-General Brian Heath said, “I would like to thank the government of Sindh for supporting the Centre for Advanced Studies in Water and for collaborating on aspects such as higher education and applied research in water-related disciplines, sharing of data and information, training on water sustainability issues, and organisation of joint training events and workshops. I’m very proud that USAID is partnering in these efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with you in finding ways to deal with the problems you will discuss here today.” Dr Randy Hatfield, USAID’s Senior Policy Adviser and Programme Manager, Sindh Basic Education Programme, was also present on the occasion.
Sindh Minister for Finance and Energy Syed Murad Ali Shah said, “Pakistan is facing acute problem of water availability and water security, including floods and droughts. Due to climate change we receive abnormal rains and consequently face heavy floods.” The minister added, “Our country needs technical as well as managerial support from institutions to address water-related issues. I appreciate the efforts of USAID for establishing USPCAS-W at MUET and for organizing such timely seminar which was the need of the hour.”
MUET Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Aslam Uqaili said that the newly established USAID-funded USPCAS-W will be very helpful to resolve the contemporary water challenges of Pakistan through its applied research and innovation. Dr Steve Burain and Dr M Aslam Chaudhry of the University of Utah, US, stated that the University of Utah was fully committed to providing technical assistance to this centre for upgrading higher education, research, and trainings. The vice chancellor also presided over the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the MUET and various institutions and agencies, including Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Sindh Irrigation Drainage Authority (SIDA) and Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam. He said, “Water governance is one of the prime concerns of the government. These MoUs will go a long way for institutions working together to improve water management and irrigation systems in the country.”
Speakers at the executive seminar were of the view that the available water resources in Pakistan were gradually shrinking due to the prevailing water governance trends, and consequently, the storage capacity of water had also declined. They said that the present social, economic and administrative system of water management lacks to address the water challenges of Pakistan. They suggested that effective improvement of water governance in Pakistan is possible through the applied research, public-private partnership, improving institutional structure and informed decision-making mechanism.
Vice Chancellor of MUET Dr Mohammad Aslam Uqaili; University of Utah Chief of Party Dr M Aslam Chaudhry; University of Utah’s Dr Steve Burian; Federal Secretary for Climate Change Arif Ahemd Khan; PCRWR Chairman Dr Muhammad Ashraf; Sindh Agriculture University Vice Chancellor Dr Mujeebuddin Memon; Head of International Water Management Institute of Pakistan Dr Arif Anwar; USPCAS-W Project Director Dr Bakhshal Khan Lashari and others participated in the event.Daily Times.