Panel Discussion: Why Waste Water, Rethinking Water Resource Management in Pakistan March 28th, 2017

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Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) joined together with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Nestle’ Pakistan to hold a panel discussion on “Rethinking Water Resource Management in Pakistan” on March 28th, 2017 in Islamabad. The event brought together key stakeholders of water sector i.e. policy makers, civil servants, municipal administration, farmers and academia to discuss ways and means for effective management of wastewater in Pakistan. Mr. Khalil Raza, Scientific Officer, ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) participated in the event on behalf of the ECOSF.

The panelists included:

  1. Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestle’ Pakistan;
  2. Rab Nawaz, Senior Programs Director, WWF;
  3. Peter Zenger, teaches Distribution Management and Politics of Water at Quid-e-Azam University;
  4. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, and
  5. Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI.

Major takeaways of the panel discussion are as follows:

Mr. Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestle’ Pakistan discussed as to how Nestle is playing its crucial role by incorporating effective wastewater management techniques at the industrial level in Pakistan. He said, Nestle is primarily a food company and water is the key ingredient and major raw material for the food. Therefore, Nestle’ has to focus on conservation and recycling of water to improve the overall productivity. He also shared a success story as to how Nestle’s largest factory in Asia located in Shekhupura got its certification for Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and it is the only factory in Pakistan to get AWS certification. He encouraged the other industrial units to adopt and follow same standards in Pakistan.

Mr. Rab Nawaz, Senior Programs, Director WWF stressed that Pakistan needs a holistic policy to address water issues. He shared his decade long working experience at Indus water. There was no concept of bottled water a decade ago but today safe drinking water is hard and a rare commodity to get in most urban cities of Pakistan and the primary reason is the inefficient use of water, he said. This polluted water goes back to the nature and spoils the food chain. He emphasized that there is a need to adopt good water management techniques and no water should be wasted at all. There are many policies in Pakistan but what is actually required is the action plan and practices to combat water crisis.

Dr. Peter Zenger, Quid-e-Azam University also stressed for the consistent and coherent policy to manage water scarcity in Pakistan and putting a fair pricing mechanism for this precious good that is being wasted in the country without any realization of its adverse consequences in our lives. Water is linked to everything, and it has far reach consequences for the entire ecosystem that includes agriculture, food and economy etc. Therefore, one must adopt the judicious use and practices of water. He further said that waste-water recycling has to be done and promoted at all sectors, including industrial, residential and agricultural.

Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman PCRWR said the water is the most precious resource at the planet but it is being wasted. Despite Pakistan being highly scarce country in terms of water resources, there is a lack of implementation of wastewater management, he said. He also quoted results from a study conducted by PCRWR, which showed a direct correlation and adverse affects of wastewater contamination on food chain and aquatic life in Pakistan. He stressed for development of indigenous wastewater resource management techniques in Pakistan which do not require high initial capital cost.

Dr. Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI concluded the panel discussion by paying his gratitude to all the panelists for their active participation and generating interactive & meaningful discussion on an important issue of wastewater management. He also emphasized on developing and need for strong collaboration among the key stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Pakistan.

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