Stimulating innovative water education: Launch of the Panjwani-Hisaar Water Institute Academic Programme

From 30 August to 3 September, the Panjwani-Hisaar Water Institute (PHWI) successfully completed its first course on ‘WATER LAW’ launching in this way the institute’s academic programme. The course was spread over 5 days and it was supported by Cap-Net Pakistan. Among the 40 participants were lawyers, water practitioners, researchers, journalists and policy makers. The course objective was to understand the existing legal environment around water (international, national, provincial and local) and its implications for water governance, management and conservation in Pakistan.

The PHWI was born from a collaborative effort of NED University, Panjwani Charitable Foundation and Hisaar Foundation (Cap-Net Pakistan). The PHWI aims to stimulate and instruct innovative water education, research and training that is multidisciplinary in nature and integrates the currently isolated nodes of engineering and social science in Pakistan’s water sector. It recognises all the linkages between water users, water uses and different stakeholder groups to promote informed policy and actions at all levels.

The PHWI academic programme was inaugurated with the water law course launch at the seminar entitled “Pakistan Water Crisis – Time to Deliver on Promises” by chief guest, President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi. The audience was introduced to the PHWI by Dr. Sarosh Hashmat Lodi, Vice Chancellor, NED University. With the Panjwani Foundation taking the lead in its establishment, this cutting-edge institute is located at the NED University. While Ms. Simi Kamal, PHWI Advisor, emphasised the ‘21st Century Solutions to Pakistan’s Water Problems, Ms. Nadira Panjwani – Chair of the Panjwani Charitable Foundation – highlighted the need for ‘Building Institutions through Philanthropy’.

Dr. Arif Alvi stressed the need for creating awareness on water conservation in society, particularly among the young generation. “PHWI is designed to be Pakistan’s leading water institute for the 21st century” affirmed Dr Arif Alvi. He called for creating new legal frameworks and introducing pricing for water so that its conservation could be ensured. The President lauded the initiatives of the Panjwani Hisaar Water Institue and the NED Univeristy for water education and added: “Steps are also required to be taken to counter the impacts of global warming”.

The renowned trainers of the water law course were Advocate Ahmad Rafay Alam, expert in environmental law, Dr. Noman Ahmed, architect and urban planner and, Ms. Simi Kamal, water specialist. In addition, advocate of the Supreme Court, Mr. Feisal H Naqvi, gave a lecture on the Industry Water Treaty, disputes and arbitration. Eminent Dr. Hassan Abbas, Chairman ZIZAK (pvt) ltd and former UNESCO Chair on IWRM, talked about water infrastructure, relevant laws Wand Indus delta.

A field trip to Dhabeji, the pumping station and Pipri treatment plant of KWSB, was also organised to learn about Karachi water supply, related to in the lecture by Dr. Noman, asking participants to look out for the legal angles in urban scenario and identify legal gaps. The course was concluded with a certificate ceremony by the Vice Chancellor of NED, Dr. Sarosh Hashmat Lodi, and closing remarks were given by Dr. Noman Ahmed. The best assignment was rewarded to Mr. Muhammad Arfan who received free registration to the 4th Karachi International Water Conference in November.