The Embassy of the Netherlands continues its support to water management in Pakistan with Ambassador De Vink attending a workshop “Ground water Management in the Indus Basin” organized by the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), in collaboration of the International Water Management Institute in Islamabad today.Mr Kamran Ali Qureshi(Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology) and Dr Muhammad Ashraf (chairman of the PCRWR) were also present.
At this workshop, Ambassador De Vink also announced the visit of a Dutch team of water management experts later this year. This team will provide a comprehensive assessment of the solutions required to reduce Pakistan’s vulnerability to floods, insufficient ground water and other water-related risks. Pakistan’s need for reliable water management will only grow in these times of climate change. The Netherlands is therefore keen to further partner with Pakistan to find viable and sustainable solutions to this challenge, building upon the USD 26 million of development aid the Netherlands has already provided this year, partly geared towards water management.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Qureshi said that groundwater plays a vital role in the economy of agriculture based countries like Pakistan. The estimates for the availability and usage of groundwater of an acceptable quality indicate that this resource has been heavily exploited in Pakistan. PCRWR has been working on groundwater assessment and mapping for the last 10 years and has been able to map the upper Indus plain utilizing GIS and other available latest hydrologic modeling techniques.
Ambassador De Vink appreciated the efforts accomplished by PCRWR and said that this was a milestone that will help the sustainable management of Pakistan’s precious groundwater resources. He also expressed his concern about Pakistan’s increased vulnerability to climate change and how he was saddened by the loss of life and suffering. “But if we act now and we act together, we can mitigate climate change and we can adapt to the physical and environmental challenges we face.” Cooperation on water management was also discussed between the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and PM Nawaz Sharif when they met in the margins of the UN General Assembly.