A consultative meeting on recently approved National Water Policy took place at the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W), Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Tariq Banuri of the University of Utah, USA, and attended by several national experts and visiting delegation of the University of Utah, USA. Dr. Banuri briefed the participants about various elements of the policy, including the need to develop a coherent framework to guide its implementation. A useful framework to achieve this objective is the water Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) together with its specific targets, he remarked.
The participants noted various gaps and identified research needs to support policy implementation. Dr. Aslam Chaudhry of the University of Utah mentioned the need for further elaborating specific actions and measures to translate policy into action. For strengthening linkages between research and policy implementation, he suggested to first assess the current status of research relevant to various policy objectives and then to identify areas for more analysis. The participants discussed and identified several critical areas for further study and Dr. Steve Burian of the University of Utah mentioned that the UU team would be happy to provide technical assistance to USPCAS-W faculty and other national researchers in implementing the research agenda. Dr. Fateh Marri, Coordinator of Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP) Government of Sindh, mentioned that creating a workable structure by careful mapping of policy objectives with issues outlined in the policy document will help in advancing the policy implementation.
Dr. Marri also informed about the Sindh water policy is currently under preparation and consultation with different stakeholders is underway. Other experts participated in the meeting and shared their ideas included, Dr. Bakhshal Lashari, Project Director USPCAS-W MUET, Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, Director Center for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr. Muhammad Naveed Iftikhar, a policy advisor, Prof. Mushtaq Mirani, Engr. Ehsan Laghari, water expert, Dr. RasoolBux Mahar, Deputy Director (Academics and Research), and faculty from the University of Utah and MUET Water Center. In meeting, the principal recommendations emerged were addressing the inconsistencies in the policy document, mapping of policy objectives with critical issues to be addressed, clustering of policy measures and actions in line with the targets of water SDG, mainstreaming cross-cutting issues, defining obligations of federal and provincial governments, and setting targets and milestones, among others.