Improving groundwater management through community participation for land and water care by development of social capital and networks: A case study from Punjab Pakistan

Ghulam Zakir-Hassan, Catherine Allan, Saira Akhtar, Ghulam Shabir

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Land and water are the utmost important natural resources which support the livelihood of mankind on the planet. However due human activities like urbanization, industrialization, agricultural production to feed the increasing population and the natural global climatic changes, both land and water are under mounding pressure. Most of the freshwater resources of the globe are under the earth surface lying in the aquifer in the shape of groundwater. Environmental pollutants in the shape of industrial, domestic, agricultural effluents and hazardous air emission have been identified as potential which ultimately cause the degradation of land and water resources. Pakistan has become a 4th largest groundwater-user with annual extraction of 62 BCM through 1.2 million tubewells, supporting irrigation (50-60%), domestic needs (>90%) and industrial demands (almost 100%). Groundwater which underpins food security and livelihood in Pakistan, but at present it is under tremendous pressure and its levels and quality are deteriorating over the time. In Punjab province of Pakistan groundwater contributes around 50% of water requirements of the irrigated agriculture and sustains the lives of rural communities. Due to increasing population and other anthropogenic activities pressure on groundwater has been increasing continuously. In brackish groundwater zones, farmers have no option to supplement the short and uncertain surface water supplies except to extract groundwater. Continuous use of brackish groundwater causes secondary salinity which degrades the fertile lands by accumulation of salts within the rootzones. Lack of capacity and awareness of community are among the major challenges for management of groundwater. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has funded a project titled “Improving Groundwater Management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan”, which is being implemented in three provinces including the Punjab province of Pakistan. Under this project, emphasis has been put on strengthening the communities at pilot sites by raising their capacity and awareness levels. Punjab Irrigation Department has also arranged field workshops for training, capacity building and raising the awareness level of the farming communities. Stakeholders forums have been established, focused group meeting have been arranged including youth, women and men groups of the society. Such activities have yielded very positive impacts and new trends for management of groundwater and land care in the study area. Initial results have indicated that people are interested in knowing and learning about the challenges for groundwater. Monitoring and measuring themselves has created sense of ownership and has raised their level of confidence and the communities have suggested interventions for sustainable management of land and water. The community has also been involved in developing regulatory framework for groundwater management in the Provincial before promulgation of Punjab Water Policy 2018 and the Punjab Water Act 2019. Under this paper the challenges for land and water care in Pakistan have been narrated and impacts of the ACIAR project coupled with intervention by PID for empowering and involving the communities have been outlined.
Keywords: community, land-care, groundwater, Punjab, Pakistan,
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Event2021 National Landcare Conference - Online
Duration: 04 Aug 202106 Aug 2021


Conference2021 National Landcare Conference
Internet address


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