ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Australian government has helped launched a AUD$15 million Water Programme to help the Pakistan Government’s efforts in developing a National Water Commission and National Water Policy.
Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson said that “Australia has more than one thousand companies which can provide advice and technologies in this critical sector.”
Three projects to improve groundwater management in agriculture, implemented by the Australian Government’s Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), will also be included in the programme.
On its website, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said: “Pakistan’s access to a strong and healthy workforce is affected by high malnutrition rates, poor water and sanitation, and maternal and child health issues.”
Between 2015-2016, Australia sent $55.8 million in foreign aid to Pakistan although this decreased to $47 million between 2016-2017.
Also included in the Water Programme is the Australian Government’s 12-year Indus Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), which was mapping the Indus Basin to establish current and future needs.
Dr Muhammad Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Council for Water Research in Water (PCRWR), said: “The Australian Water Program for Pakistan is distinctive in its nature as it is covering three major aspects in water resources management; enhance farmer’s water management skills by developing new knowledge dissemination methods; participatory irrigation management; and improving groundwater management through capacity building of farmers and researchers.”
As well as PCRWR and ACIAR, organisations from both countries will work together in the programme, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), together with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).