LAHORE: The first phase of “Water Resources Accountability in Pakistan” was launched here on Tuesday for strengthening the capacity to manage water resources at federal and provincial levels, supporting adaptation to climate change and improving environmental sustainability.

The overall objective of this programme is to ensure implementation on National Water Policy and Provincial Water Act.

International Water Management Institute (IWMI), WWF Pakistan, Government of the Punjab, UK High Commission and other foreign agencies are collaborating in implementation of this programme.

Punjab Irrigation Minister Mohsin Leghari speaking at the launching ceremony said actual issue is governance and wise use of whatever water is available to Pakistan.

He said Pakistan needs to manage its water resources which it gets in limited time of 90 days. He said Pakistan needs to store whatever water it receives from the nature. He said India has 390 dams and we should learn from her. He said that the provincial government was working on various projects to enhance water productivity and improving the governance.

Director General International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Mark Smith throwing light on the project said that component 1 of the project will offer climate resilient solutions for improving “Water Governance”. He said the project would also improve the enabling environment for water sector reforms through better accountability, monitoring, and narrative setting. Women, youth, and marginalized people will be specifically targeted with their engagement, inputs, and roles.

Foreign, commonwealth & Development Office (UK High Commission) representative Annabel Gerry also spoke on this occasion and threw light on the objective of supporting the project for better use of available water by the stakeholders.

Secretary Irrigation Punjab Saif Anjum speaking on this occasion said climate change had brought numerous issues like water scarcity, quality of water resources and stress on aquifer. He said that the government was trying to realign the department to make it water resource management department. He disclosed that a new act is being enacted to address the challenges water resources face due to climate change.

IWMI Country Director Dr Mohsin Hafeez, WWF-Pakistan CEO Hammad Naqi Khan, DG (On Farm Water Management) Punjab Malik Akram and others also spoke on the occasion.