LAHORE: WWF-Pakistan hosted the official launch of the report Situation Analysis of the Water Resources of Lahore and a dialogue on city-wide partnership on water stewardship on Tuesday at a hotel, in connection with its European Union (EU) funded project City-wide Partnership for Sustainable Water Use and Water Stewardship in SMEs in Lahore.

A press release issued by the WWF-Pakistan says the project aims to promote water efficient production and consumption practices in the country’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the implementation of Best Water Management Practices (BWMPs).

The study is a compilation of key information on the water resources of Lahore and has sets a precedence in establishing a detailed water accounting of the city. It comprehensively captures the physical, institutional, and regulatory challenges that the city faces and provides a robust evidence base to support water stewardship activities, the broader goal of the project.

The report highlights that water supply for domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural use is estimated to be 3.79, 0.92, 0.77 and 1.70 MCM per day, which is extracted from groundwater. Due to excessive extraction, the groundwater table is depleting by about 0.55 m (1.5 ft) per annum. The main recharge to groundwater of 82 per cent is contributed by the Ravi River and shows the importance of Ravi flows in sustaining the Lahore aquifer. The report also notes that total wastewater generation is 8 MCM a day which is disposed of into the Ravi River without any treatment.

An EU delegation comprising of Bernard Francois, head of Co-operation and Roshan Ara, development adviser to Trade and Economic Co-operation, attended the ceremony. In addition, key figures from governmental departments, chambers of commerce, trading associations, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and academia were also present on the occasion.

Bernard Francois said that, ‘The EU acknowledges the fact that water is indispensable for a productive and flourishing economy. With this project, we hope to build a model of best water management practices in SMEs in Punjab, which can then be communicated and replicated all over Pakistan. The role of SMEs engaged in the project and their feedback will be very important in building up and strengthening the action. The EU stands committed to contribute to the development of Pakistan including the ongoing water stewardship project, implemented by the WWF.

Hammad Naqi Khan, director general of WWF-Pakistan said, “Through the Water Stewardship Project (WSP) and interaction with diverse stakeholders, we have gained an insight into the major water challenges of the country and have come to realise the various avenues that exist with huge potential for improvement within the water sector. We are now looking forward to expanding the scope of our work to promote better water and energy management within and beyond the fence-line operations.”

Dr Asad Sarwar Qureshi, a water expert with extensive experience in agricultural and urban water resource management of South Asia, presented the findings of the report while Shafqatullah, project director of the Cleaner Production Institute (CPI) gave an overview of the business case, developed on the basis of lessons learnt from the implementation of BWMPs in the pilot industries.

Dr Conor Linstead, Freshwater Specialist, WWF-UK, with Ali Hasnain Sayed, manager of the Water Security and Stewardship, WWF-Pakistan, conducted a brainstorming session on developing a city-wide partnership on managing the water resources of Lahore. Guests from the government, corporate sector, and academia shared their input on improving water management in the city.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2014

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