President Alvi Urges Smart Water Practices in Agriculture to Mitigate Looming Crisis

Thu Dec 07 2023
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ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasizes the adoption of smarter and less water-intensive practices such as drip and spray irrigation in agriculture to address the imminent water shortage crisis.

Speaking at the international conference on ‘Transformative pathways for water and food systems in a climate resilient Pakistan’ in Karachi, President Alvi highlights that the agriculture sector consumes approximately 95 percent of the country’s water, necessitating immediate planning and reforms for water use efficiency.

President Alvi notes that Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change and natural disasters globally. The water crisis in the country is identified as one of the most pressing challenges, exacerbated by factors like rapid population growth, urbanization, industrialization, depletion of water resources, environmental deterioration, climate change, and irrational human behavior.

The President underscores the importance of research and technological innovation to promote modern agricultural technologies at the grassroots level. He emphasizes the need to educate farmers about water conservation, rainwater harvesting, and aquifer technologies. Community involvement and the implementation of laws are deemed crucial for effective water management.

Highlighting the dependence of Pakistan’s farmers on conventional flood irrigation methods, President Alvi advocates for the adoption of global best practices such as drip and spray irrigation and water recycling. He suggests crop substitution as a viable strategy, urging farmers to choose crops that are less water-intensive. The President proposes research on utilizing rice grain that requires less water and yields higher output.

Drawing attention to the success of The Netherlands, President Alvi points out that despite being 19 times smaller than Pakistan, the country is the second-largest exporter of food products. He attributes this success to water conservation, vertical farming, plant control farming, and hydroponic farming.

President Alvi stresses the need for attitudinal change towards water usage, advocating for water pricing in agriculture and urban areas to prevent water wastage. He calls for improvements in the internal provincial water distribution arrangement and the telemetry system. The President suggests the use of satellite telemetry to monitor actual water flow towards provinces.

President Alvi emphasizes a whole-of-society approach, starting from childhood, to care for the environment. He underscores the importance of both mitigation and adaptation as tools to increase water storage and meet the country’s needs.



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