Amid the situation of deteriorating ground water quality, it is need of hour to step up efforts to address the issue at the national level. It was discussed at a meeting with Dr Richard Culas and Dr Michael Mitchell from Charles Sturt University (CSU)'s Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) Australia with University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar at his chamber.
They visited the varsity in connection with the ACIAR funded project of CSU on "Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods In Pakistan." Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar said that UAF had a well-established Water Management Institute (WMI), which had been successful in developing technologies on various aspects of water management creating an environment among the farming community to adopt the improved water management practices.
The institute has four sections, including farm irrigation management, irrigation agronomy and soil management, socio-economic and training and extension. UAF has also been successful in developing various water conservation technologies.
He said that agricultural issues would be addressed including water availability and salinity, cereal productivity, and crop diversification and management practices. He said that poor irrigation-management practices, combined with poor drainage and soil management, have resulted in significant salinity. Dr Richard Culas said the aim of this project is to build the capacity of researchers, farmers, farming communities and relevant government and non-government agencies to improve groundwater management in the way that enhance farming family livelihoods in Pakistan.
Enhancing farming livelihoods includes ensuring long-term sustainability of agriculture and fairness of consideration across the socio-political spectrum. The specific project objectives are to develop and articulate a shared understanding of sustainable groundwater use for agriculture and the need for improved management in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces.