Water scarcity is fast becoming a critical issue for many countries in the developed and developing world. Issues related to water resource management and irrigation becomes more pronounced in countries like Pakistan which is dependent on agriculture. Pakistan has the largest area under contiguous irrigation in the world. It is heavily dependent on inflows into the Indus River system, mostly from snowmelt in the western Himalayas. Over time, demands on irrigation water systems have increased beyond the system capacity due to population pressures and agricultural development. In addition, changes in the socio-economic context, build-up of environmental issues, stagnation of irrigation sector institutions and deterioration of irrigation infrastructure have resulted in a progressive decline of irrigation performance. The need to improve irrigation and water resource management now figures high on the agendas of related national and international agencies in Pakistan.
The main challenges related to irrigation and water resource management in Pakistan include:
Water scarcity and the inefficient use of available water resources:
Water scarcity and the inefficient use of available water resources is a major issue made real by the demands of a large and growing population, where over 80% of arable land is irrigated. The problem is intensified by the fact that there is a lack of adequate water storage facilities such as dams and reservoirs due to low levels of public investment in dam infrastructure and demands on land usage. The lack of adequate water storage facilities at the farm level has contributed to a lack of adoption of high efficiency irrigation systems by farmers.
Water wastage and water conservation:
Pakistan experiences large volumes of water wastage as traditional methods of irrigation are still used by farmers. Around 50-60% of water used on farms is wasted mainly due to a lack of water reservoirs and the decreasing capacity of dams for water storage. Glaciers in the western Himalayas are melting and in the absence of effective water conservation and harvesting techniques, Pakistan is experiencing heavy floods leading to the loss of lives and damage to agriculture and in the long term increasing water shortage.
Groundwater and salinity:
Groundwater is emerging as a major component of the irrigation sector bringing opportunities to farmers, however also affecting the water table and worsening the problems associated with salinity including the decay of surface irrigation infrastructure. Due to the installation of tube wells the groundwater table has lowered and salinity and pollution has increased significantly.
Strategy for change:
Despite large investments in Pakistan’s irrigation and water resource management it faces substantial resource shortages, both infrastructural and human. Increasing water scarcity and the mismanagement of available water resources are intensifying these shortages. Policy-makers and planners believe the sector requires new strategies to address this challenge. Various options are being considered by all levels of government including up-skilling the human resource base within the sector. At the same time, planners are seeking to develop mutually beneficial relationships between primary stakeholders working at the institutional and operational level - specifically public sector implementers (working for public sector water authorities) and community mobilisers. The aim is to build shared capacity in sustainable water resource management thereby strengthening governance of the sector, as well as enabling transfer of knowledge and skills to farmers to improve field practices.
To conduct a train the trainer program for 20-25 public sector implementers and community mobilisers from target organisations to deliver effective farmer education programs. The primary subject matter is focused on water conservation techniques and sustainable water resource management as practiced in Australia for adaptation in Pakistan at the grass root level.
Via an integrated train the trainer methodology, provide recipients with skills and knowledge in training techniques (for application in effective water resource management farmer education programs at the grass root level).
To provide recipients with skills and knowledge relating to Australia’s water resource management practices
To enable recipients to interpret their experience and learning for inclusion in customised water resource management farmer education programs in Pakistan at the grass root level.
Gender integration will be addressed throughout the design and delivery of the course content and practical activities with a particular focus on the different roles men and women play in irrigation and water resource management in Pakistan.
Participants will be able to identify, understand and analyse issues and challenges relating to water resource management in Australia and Pakistan in the following areas:• water harvesting techniques
water conveyance and crop management
water wastage and conservation
groundwater management and;
gender integration in irrigation and water resource management.
Participants will also be able to apply appropriate train the trainer techniques to the development and improvement of existing farmer education programs.
Through a combination of classroom based learning activities, site visits and group reflection sessions, case studies, train the trainer workshops and interactions with experts and organisations, recipients will successfully:• develop a portfolio of appropriate resource materials that will assist in the development of a train the trainer package and farmer education programs focused on sustainable water resource management and;
contribute to the review and modification of farmer training materials reflecting the knowledge gained from Australia’s water resource management and train the trainer techniques for grass roots implementation and;
devise a train the trainer framework to cascade their Australian experiences to trainers of farmers in sustainable water resource management.
Public sector implementers: professional instructors/trainers currently employed (or otherwise formally engaged ) at the service delivery level in public agriculture and irrigation departments, or in-service training institutes where field officers (directly working with growers) are educated. The public sector implementers will be actively connected with the management and conduct of instructional/training programs specifically aimed at strengthening implementation of water resource management and irrigation techniques at the grass root level in Pakistan.
Community mobilisers: employees of rural support programs or NGOs/INGOs in the private/civil society sector, or elected representatives of Farmer Organisations and Community Based Organisations who are actively engaged in community mobilisation, advocacy trainings with a focus on irrigation and water resource management.