Nestlé Pakistan and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) organized a panel discussion on August 21 on the need for innovative irrigation solutions to decrease water wastage and improve yield, as part of their World Water Week activities.  World Water Week, which is organized between August 20 and 24 this year, highlights global water challenges and explores new ways of managing water.

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, Abdullah Jawaid, Business Executive Officer for Nestlé Waters underscored Nestlé’s flagship Caring for Water-Pakistan (C4W-Pakistan) initiative as a lighthouse example for collective action. He said, “C4W-Pakistan brings in different partners together to discuss and find solutions for water challenges factories, communities, and agriculture. Particular to agriculture, Nestlé has assisted farmers to shift to drip irrigation on 139 acres and installing Smart Soil Moisture Sensors on 548 acres in Punjab. Drip irrigation is 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.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Zehra Waheed. Associate Dean for Academics (SDSB – Undergraduate). Other notable speakers, including Head of Corporate Affairs Sheikh Waqar Ahmad, 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.