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HEC to form task force for resolving water crisis in Baluchistan

Islamabad:Higher Education Commission (HEC) will propose setting up a task force to deal with the challenge of water scarcity in Balochistan, after consultation with Chief Minister Jam Kamal .
This was stated by Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, HEC while chairing a meeting on academia’s role in addressing water crisis in Balochistan at the Commission Secretariat on Friday. The meeting aimed at contemplating on the prevailing scenario, challenges and future opportunities regarding ground water recharge, water reservoirs, water usage efficiency, clean drinking water and water resource management.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tariq Banuri said expressed deep concern over the prevailing water crisis in Balochistan and assured of support from the academia. He said Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, Chief Minister, Balochistan places high priority on addressing the issue. He He added that the HEC and universities need to come forward to present a joint plan of action for solution to the issue.
It was decided in the meeting that the HEC will propose to the Government of Balochistan to set up a Task Force, assisted by a technical committee, to help resolve the issue. “The Task Force will be a joint body and will help formulate water policy and execute it, while the technical committee will undertake research, collect data, assess and determine research gap, and identify areas that need attention,” Dr. Banuri explained.
The meeting participants agreed that the Task Force will comprise Vice Chancellors and representatives of Centres of Excellence and Advanced Studies in water. They suggested that the Task Force must develop Terms of Reference (ToRs) based on modalities and feasibility of the plan, while the technical committee must undertake research and identify the areas that require attention. They also emphasised the need for capacity building of organisations and centres working on water resource management. They expressed concerns that there are over 42000 tube wells in Balochistan and only 450 of them are registered. This is one of major causes of water depletion and causes electricity burden as well, they underlined. They stressed the need for creating awareness among people about hazards of wasting water.
During the course of meeting, representatives of various universities Centres of Excellence in Water also highlighted their efforts about water management. They pointed out that the surface water in Balochistan has reached an end, while the ground water is rapidly depleting. “Balochistan largely depends upon ground water and its depletion is highly alarming,” they observed. They also discussed the outcomes of delay-action dams concept as well as the prospects of leakage dams and other measures including irrigation and capacity building of centres on water. Issues pertaining to draughts, disaster management, flash floods, agricultural water management, farming methods, climate change assessment, meteorology, ground water modeling, and urbanisation were also brought under consideration.
“I will discuss the points raised in the meeting with the Chief Minister, Balochistan so that we may proceed,” he concluded.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director, HEC, and Dr. Muhammad Latif, Adviser, Research and Development Division, HEC in person along with Engineer Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancellor, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Dr. Sarosh Hashmat Lodi, Vice Chancellor, NED University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Karachi, Dr. Javed Iqbal, Vice Chancellor, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Dr. Fazal Ahmad Khalid, Vice Chancellor, UET, Lahore, Dr. Dost Muhammad Baloch, Vice Chancellor, Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences (LUAWMS), Dr. Muhammad Aslam Uqaili, Vice Chancellor, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Director General, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, Director, Centre for Water Informatics and Technology, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and other water resource experts through HEC video conferencing facility.

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