LUMS Centre for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT) team members organised the first educational Spring School on Water Systems, Science and Practice (WSSP). The school, held from March 14 – 18 2016, brought together around 120 academics (students, faculty, research scientists) and practitioners (policy makers, government representatives) from public and private sectors across Pakistan and engaged them in addressing water management through a multidisciplinary approach.
The school featured four key modules, each with a different focus but each interlinked to the others. The first two modules, Hydrology and Water Nexuses with Agriculture, Climate & Energy, focused on the science of water and presented a basic understanding of the hydrological cycle and managing water resources in the face of challenges like climate change and water/food security. The third module was on water systems, which talked about the importance of water quality and state-of-the-art purification techniques for improving surface and groundwater quality. The fourth module focused on the practice side of water and discussed the importance of policy analysis and conflict resolution in drafting intelligent water policies and resolving inter-provincial or global water issues.
The instructors included highly qualified individuals working towards improving water infrastructure/quality/policy in Pakistan and elsewhere – Dr. Afreen Siddiqi (Research Scientist, MIT), Dr. Asif Khan (Research Scientist, IIASA), Dr. Abubakr Muhammad (Associate Professor, LUMS), Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed (Research Scientist, Masdar Institute), Mr. Ahmad Rafay Alam (Environmental Lawyer, Saleem, Alam & Co) and lastly, Ms. Laila Kasuri (Water Resource Specialist, World Bank).
The aim of the school was to help bridge the gap between academia and practice. The school proved to be highly engaging and received positive feedback from the participants. It helped the participants gain a new understanding and a broad view of management tools aimed at tackling problems of water and water-related issues in water scarce regions. Course details from the school are available at: http://cyphynets.lums.edu.pk/index.php/WSSP2016
The spring school was concluded by holding a panel discussion on the UN-World Water Day theme – ‘Water for Livelihoods’ in partnership with Nestlé Pakistan and WWF-Pakistan. The interactive discussion among experts from various academic, non-profit and government sectors highlighted how each sector contributes to securing livelihoods associated with the water industry. Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, WIT Director, spoke about bringing innovation and modernity to the existing water infrastructure and for the government to take immediate steps to devise effective water management policies.