Monday, September 25, 2023

LUMS and Nestlé Pakistan Commemorate World Water Week by Underscoring the Need for Innovative Irrigation Solutions 

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Nestlé Pakistan organized a panel discussion on innovative irrigation solutions to decrease water wastage and improve agricultural productivity, as part of their World Water Week activities. 

Organized between 20th and 24th this year, World Water Week highlights the global water challenges and explores new ways of managing water and focuses on the ways we value water. The discussion was aligned with this year’s World Water Week theme focusing on innovative solutions for a water-wise world.

During his remarks, Dr. Abu Bakr Muhammad, Director Center for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT), LUMS, iterated the need to place water at the core of action plans and policy.  He said, “There is an urgent need for communities, companies and governments to come up with innovative solutions to secure water that can help maintain the balance between people and nature.”

Mr. Mohsin Leghari, former Senator and Minister Irrigation, Punjab, highlighted that collective action is required that caters to Pakistan’s agriculture challenges.  More than 90% of Pakistan’s water resources are used in agriculture (FAO). Of this, 50% is wasted due to mismanagement. “In light of climate change, increasing food security issues, and considering we are an agrarian economy, it is imperative to improve agricultural productivity through efficient water management and modern irrigation methods,” he iterated.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Nestlé Pakistan highlighted how Nestlé’s flagship Caring for Water-Pakistan (C4W-Pakistan) initiative is a lighthouse example for collective action. He said, “C4W-Pakistan is a blueprint for gauging collective action and has three pillars: factories, communities, and agriculture. Nestlé has so far made significant progress in all domains, specifically in agriculture by assisting farmers to shift to drip irrigation on 139 acres and installing Smart Soil Moisture Sensors on 548 acres in Punjab. Drip irrigation is currently being scaled up in Sindh.”

Nestlé’s Waters Pledge in 2021, where Nestlé’s Waters Business has committed to lead the regeneration of the water cycle to create positive impact by 2025, accelerated the water stewardship efforts of C4W-Pakistan. By the end of 2022, the company had achieved 58% of its target for 2025, well on track for its commitment. These activities are in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13 and 17.

Other notable speakers, including Business Executive Officer – Nestlé Waters Abdullah Jawaid, Member Committee on Water Issues in Islamabad Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, environmental journalist Zofeen Ebrahim, water expert Imran Saqib Khalid, owner Sukeki Farms Sultan Ahmed Bhatti, all stressed on the need for sustainable irrigation methods as the need of the hour.

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