Australia and Pakistan collaborations on water, food and energy security strengthened through MOU
CSIRO’s Dr Mobin-ud-Din Ahmad, Project Leader – CSIRO Indus SDIP project in Pakistan, travelled to Pakistan in September to attend the Indus Knowledge Forum. A one-day workshop organised by the Australian and Pakistani governments to discuss responses to the challenges of water scarcity, food insecurity and energy shortages.
An exciting ‘side-line’ to this meeting was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the 18th of September 2018 between Australia and Pakistan for collaborations working towards water, food and energy security by Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, HE Margaret Adamson, and Pakistan Water Resources Secretary, Shamail Khawaja.
Pakistan is on a journey to achieve water, food and energy security and Australia is committed to providing long-term support; this MOU provides extra emphasis around the collaborations and partnerships between experts and officials.
Dr Ahmad and the Indus SDIP team have been working at policy, planning and modelling levels to help Pakistan implement relevant Australian water resource management technologies, and build local capacity in integrated water resource management and impact assessment.
For example, the Indus River System Model (IRSM) is a planning tool to explore water management options in Pakistan developed by the CSIRO and collaborating Pakistani agencies through SDIP.
IRSM represents the Pakistan Indus Basin Irrigation System, the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world, by describing both the physical and water sharing systems on a daily time step.
The model replicates historic provincial entitlements reasonably well in terms of daily pattern of allocations and overall cumulative volume and the model may now be used to investigate current and future water management decisions by Pakistan water management agencies. For example, investigating the potential impacts of climate change and infrastructure development on future water availability and the associated impacts on provincial water sharing.
The Indus SDIP work is part of a portfolio of investments supported by the Australian Government addressing the regional challenges of water, food and energy security in South Asia.
The SDIP Phase 2 aims to improve the integrated management of water, energy and food in the Himalayan river basins, addressing climate risk and the interests of women and girls. It seeks to:
- strengthen practices for regional cooperation
- generate and use critical new knowledge to enhance regional cooperation
- improve the regional enabling environment for private sector engagement.