USAID Water Research Center of Mehran University Celebrated World Water Day

March 22, 2016 USPCASW

U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W) a water research center of Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET) celebrated World Water Day 2016 under the theme of “Water and Jobs” at main Auditorium MUET Jamshoro today. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Aslam Uqaili, Vice Chancellor MUET said that world is facing various water challenges which can be resolved through research and study. He said that water is precious commodity and it must have price tag as the actual importance can be realized. Dr. Uqaili said efforts for saving water is being made nationally and internationally, in this connection, MUET is trying its best to ensure safe drinking water with in the campus and its vicinity, he announced that from this year 100% access to safe drinking water will be ensured in the campus and then will be extended to Jamshoro city. He said keeping the importance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), MUET has focused by coupling  Water, Energy and Environment (WEE) has initiated various approaches to save WEE.

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“MUET library and Vice Chancellor Secretariat is converted on solar energy and efforts are made for alternate energy and water recycling to reduce the carbon footprint”, he added. Vice Chancellor further said that this water research center has been established by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which will produce around 250 PhD and MS scholars in various water related fields including hydraulics, irrigation, drainage, water resources management, environment and sanitation. Chief of Party and research professor at University of Utah Dr. Mohammad Aslam Chaudhry while briefing the historical perspective of World Water Day said that in September 1992, United Nations in its Environment and Development Agenda 21, on the occasion of Earth Summit decided to celebrate this important day and in 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day, then later on annual them was included in the celebrations and this year the theme is “Water and Jobs”.

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Dr. Chaudhry said that this day aims at to raise public awareness and mobilize actions at all levels. Dr. M. Aslam Chaudhry said different communities have different attitude to water and change in the attitude of all is the need of the hour otherwise we have to face serious water related challenges in upcoming 15 years. “Pakistan did not achieved most of the goals”, Dr. Chaudhry replied in question regarding United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Water Expert Mr. Naseer Memon delivering his presentations on “Water Woes of the Planet” said that total water on earth is 1.4 billion cubic Kms whereas 97.5% of this quantity is in oceans and only 2.5% is fresh water, whereas out of 3% fresh water there is 69% covers glaciers and snow, 30% is ground water, lakes and rivers have 0.3% and 0.9% in soil moisture etc. Mr. Memon quoting World Bank report said that 40-60% of water used by utilities is lost to leakage, theft and poor accounting.  Naseeer Memon talking on Pakistan perspective said that Pakistan is one of the most population growth rates on the glob and having 180 million population from which half of the population rely on agriculture 1/3rd of them are below the poverty line, 1/4th of them do not have access to safe drinking water, and 76 million have no sanitation.

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He said that water in Pakistan works as an input not the output therefore Population management is an unavoidable need also the better irrigation practices and on farm management is needed. While concluding Mr. Memon said that Pakistan’s water challenge does not require engineering solutions alone but conservation and better management of water resources should be the priority. Dr. Fateh Mari, Project Coordinator Water Sector Improvement Project of Sindh Government talking on the theme of the day “water and jobs” said that half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors and nearly all jobs, regardless of the sector, depend directly on water.  He further said water is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development. Dr. Bakhshal Khan Lashari, Director USPCAS-W in welcoming address said that importance of water is everywhere and this day is celebrated globally to raise awareness for water in the society. While sharing some water statistics, Dr. Lashari said that 1300, 3500 and 15000 liters are needed to produce per KG of wheat, rice and meat respectively. He further said that by reducing use of meat and other high volume consumption of water related things, we can save the water for other needy human beings.

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On this occasion Mr. Mahmood Nawaz Shah, Chairman Sindh Abadgar Board said that in Pakistan 80 districts are food insecure whereas 51 are food secure. He further said that 95% water used for agriculture in the country whereas 44% urban and 90% rural population 44% urban and 90% rural population do not have access to safe drinking water. “Pakistan has to address challenges of food security and efficient use of water”, he added. Mr. Waseem Vohra, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI), USPCAS-W Student Maheen Saeed, Syeda Fatima Zehra and others spoke on the importance of water on this occasion.  The good numbers of the students from various department of MUET, activists from civil society, NGOs and other stakeholders participated in the World Water Day celebration. The event was followed by a water awareness walk and students of USPCAS-W had play cards of “Water and Jobs” and “Better Water, Better Jobs”.

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