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November 19, 2015

Shah Latif University holds seminar on Sindh water issues


November 19, 2015

SUKKUR: The Department of Geography at Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU), Khairpur organised a seminar ‘Effects of Drought on Irrigation and Agriculture Activities’ in collaboration with Institute of Space Technology (IST), Karachi on Wednesday.
SALU, Shikarpur Campus Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Lutfullah Mangi presided over the seminar and Dr Badar Ghauri of IST, SUPARCO was the chief guest.
Dr Mangi said drought has been part of our environment since the beginning of recorded history. Drought not only effects irrigation and agriculture but also creates a chain of reactions in the other sectors of the economy.
He pointed out that it has been estimated by UN, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that droughts are the world's costliest natural disaster, accounting for six to eight billion dollars annually, and impacting more people than the other forms of natural disasters.
The FAO also reports that the frequency, intensity and duration of droughts were expected to rise as a result of climate change with an increasing human and economic toll.
Dr Mumtaz Hussain Mahar, Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences said successive governments in Pakistan have been working on lining of canals and water courses, new crop patterns, and dry farming techniques, like drip irrigation method.
But unfortunately, there is lack of awareness in this regard, and people are not really aware about the causes and consequences of climate change.
He suggested that awareness should be part of our education.
Dr Badar Ghauri delivered his presentation on Drought Monitoring System for Sindh. He said it was necessary to identify drought prone areas in Sindh to develop a methodology and determine drought severity, utilising satellite-based data, to relate the impact of meteorological drought with agricultural drought and to develop the Drought Monitoring Decision Support System (DM-DSS).
Problems of Fresh Water Resources and Management in Sindh were discussed

by Prof Mohammad Rafique Dhanani, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. He revealed that water stress was a growing concern all over the world.
The amount of per capita water availability decreased significantly from 5,300 cubic meters in 1951 to 850 cubic meters in 2013.
He said Sindh was mostly arid land where rainfall was low and variable. The condition of fresh water resources depending upon local rainfall may be examined by the amount of rainfall and number of rainy days in different areas of Sindh.
Prof Ayaz Hussain Abro, Principal, Khairpur College of Agricultural, Engineering and Technology, Khairpur spoke on Effects of Droughts on Agriculture and Livestock in Tharparkar.
He said, over 40 to 70 percent desert population migrate to barrage areas of Indus river to find labour and grass lands for animals.
A significant effect of drought has been observed in availability of grains, milk and feed / fodder of livestock.
Low crop yields result in high market prices of grains and fodder.
It is estimated that local trade has fallen by over 70 percent, he added.
Prof Dr Mohammad Hanif, IST, SUPARCO, Islamabad spoke on Food Security: Geospatial Monitoring of Water and Agriculture Sectors. “We have to prove that we are using this scarce resource efficiently, he said.
He suggested that agriculture research, educational transformation and hi tech research were essential for food security. Diversification of food habits may be promoted too, he added.
Dr Arjumand Zaidi, IST, SUPARCO, Karachi talked on Watercourse Improvement Efforts in Sindh: Are the Goals Achieved?
She suggested focusing on major issues of agricultural and irrigation sectors of Sindh, and to improve the efficiency, reliability, and equity of irrigation water distribution at watercourse levels.
She said majority of the targeted tasks of National Programme for Improvement of Water and Sindh On-Farm Water Management Programme, including watercourses improvement have been completed so far.

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