Posted on 29 July 2021
Islamabad, 29 July 2021: To tackle surface and groundwater management and improve water governance, WWF-Pakistan has launched a city-wide partnership to promote open and constructive dialogue on priority water risks by mobilizing resources, foster new partnerships for improved water governance, adopt locally-driven solutions, and make measurable improvements towards sustainable water use and water stewardship in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, under the Australia-Pakistan Water Security Initiative (APWASI). Comprising a network of public, private, and civil society actors, this platform will develop a common understanding of water risks in the twin cities, establish key priority water risks and pin down strategies to mitigate these risks.
At the launch event in Islamabad, Rab Nawaz, Senior Director, WWF-Pakistan stated that ‘Australia has been successfully practicing holistic water management i.e., a ‘Water Sensitive Cities Approach’. Pakistan can adopt these good practices at the community level which can then be replicated and upscaled. Partnerships play an integral role in achieving water management goals and platforms like the city-wide partnership are meant to promote them’.
Launched under the APWASI initiative, a project funded by Australian Aid to implement the Water Sensitive Cities vision, the city-wide partnership is a step towards adopting a nature-based approach for the holistic management of the water cycle to make the twin cities more liveable, resilient, sustainable and productive. Senior representatives from the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), and Pak Mission Society, amongst others, convened to pledge their support towards developing and adopting locally-driven, low-cost solutions to improve access and availability of water and ensure sustainable water use and stewardship.
The platform will be instrumental for the government in generating evidence-based information and data on water use, distribution, leakage, quality, sanitation, etc.; thus, informing urban planning and the policy and decision-making processes.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Naveed Iqbal Gondol, Director Hydrology, PCRWR said that ‘Managing a problem at its source is easy – otherwise it becomes complex and may turn into disaster. Nature-based solutions, such as rainwater harvesting, will facilitate groundwater recharge and help mitigate disastrous situations like flooding’.
As part of the discussions held during the event, the participants identified challenges of water management in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and exchanged ideas on interventions for water-sensitive urban design.
The city-wide partnership will serve as a springboard for the exchange of ideas, information and lessons learned and will generate constructive dialogue on priority water risks, allow for collective mobilization of resources, foster new partnerships for improved water governance, build the capacity of key stakeholders on urban water management, and ensure community resilience to climate change.