‘Water shortage has affected agriculture, energy production’

* Scientific methods can help overcome situation, say experts

waterISLAMABAD: Pakistan is being dragged towards acute water scarcity which is badly hampering agriculture, the mainstay of the country’s survival, evaporating potable water and creating energy crisis. However, if scientific methods are applied effectively, they can ensure optimal usage of the available water resources, boost agriculture yield with less labour and lessen many other water-related issues.

These views were expressed by speakers at a one-day seminar organised by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT). The seminar was organised to commemorate the ‘World Science Day for Peace and Development’ here on Tuesday. The title of the seminar was ‘Science for Water Cooperation: Sharing Data, Knowledge and Innovations’.

Presiding over the inaugural ceremony, Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, a veteran Pakistani scientist and former advisor to prime minister, underscored the importance of the ‘World Science Day for Peace and Development’ and reviewed it in its historical perspective.

In his keynote address, he stressed the need to keep water-related issues on high priority by organisations like the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the UN and the COMSATS. He said the COMSATS had held an extensive discussion session on water issues in 2001 and published the proceedings of the event in a book.

He said Pakistan had the distinction of being the country on whose request the United Nations had decided to celebrate the World Science Day every year. Earlier, COMSATS Executive Director Dr Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, while stressing the importance of the title of the day, gave a broader perspective whereby science had been used both for the betterment of mankind as well as for the purpose of war and destruction. Only the ‘lights’ of science needed to be celebrated while ‘shadows’ were to be shunned, he added.

He elaborated worldwide focus on freshwater availability and cautioned that Pakistan would face a major destabilising situation if water management was not addressed as the highest priority.

CIIT, Islamabad Campus Director Dr Shahid Ahmed Khan welcomed the guests and participants of the seminar and stressed the need for capacity-building events in sensitising societies and proffering research-based solutions for development issues.

Consensus prevailed at the seminar to make increased efforts to promote ‘water cooperation’ among nations to ensure poverty reduction, socio-economic development, protection of environment and promotion of peace and sustainability.

Courtesy Daily Times

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