ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan, 2016-2021

Funding

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research: $2,050,000 (cash)
CSU: $100,000 (cash) plus $541,330 (in-kind contribution)
Other partners: $656,689 (in-kind contributions)
Total $2,150,000 plus $1,198,019 in-kind

CSU Investigators/researchers

Associate Professor Andrew Hall (Project Director), Institute Adjunct Professor Jay Punthakey, Dr Michael Mitchell, Dr Richard Culas, and Associate Professor Catherine Allan

Co-investigators/ project partners

Ground water partnershipsPakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR); University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF); PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (UAAR); Sindh Agriculture University (SAU); Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET); NED University of Engineering & Technology (NED); Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering & Management Sciences (BUITEMS); Punjab Irrigation Department (PID); Sindh Irrigation Department (SID); Balochistan Irrigation Department (BID); International Waterlogging & Salinity Research Institute (IWASRI); and International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Description

The aim of this project was to build the capacity of researchers, farmers, farming communities and relevant government and non-government agencies to improve groundwater management in ways that enhance farming family livelihoods in Pakistan.

Pakistan's population of over 220 million relies heavily on its agriculture-based economy.  Around 95% of the country's water consumption is for agriculture and the pressure on available resources is increasing. Surface water supply is highly variable and dependence on groundwater has rapidly increased with over one million tubewells in use. Most are owned by private farmers. Continuous decline in groundwater levels and spread of salinization is rendering fertile lands unusable and undermining livelihoods. Groundwater over-extraction is being exacerbated by increased cropping intensity to meet food security need, electricity subsidisation, inefficient irrigation practices, and a deficient regulatory and policy framework.

The governance and management of groundwater in Pakistan is in a state of transition from little or no attention being given to groundwater resource management, towards a future where groundwater will be required to be managed sustainably for all uses including environmental needs.

The project adopted a case study approach to enable in-depth understanding of particular groundwater systems and associated socio-political contexts and engaged and built capacity of groundwater managers and users in each case study context through collaboration.  Three provinces, Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh, were selected for the case study investigations.  These three provinces represent a diversity of groundwater use and conditions due to their different  hydrogeological settings but similar opportunities to enhance agriculture and livelihood outcomes through  improved groundwater managment.

The specific project objectives were to:

  1. Develop and articulate a shared understanding of sustainable groundwater use for agriculture and the need for improved management in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces.
  2. Develop, with collaborating stakeholders in each case study, groundwater management tools and options that have the potential to enhance livelihoods of farming families.
  3. Enhance capacity and institutional arrangements for post project adoption of tools and options developed in Objective 2 by collaborating stakeholder organisations.

The project is one of a suite of collaborative research projects between Australia and Pakistan focused on improving water management.

Outputs

Punathakey, J., Allan, C., Ashfaq, M. & Mitchell, M. (2021). ACIAR LWR/2015/036 Final Report Improving Groundwater Management to Enhance Agriculture and Farming Livelihoods in Pakistan. Albury: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University

Understanding Groundwater:  A learning resource for farmers in Pakistan English version pdf

Understanding Groundwater Sindhi Version pdf

Understanding Groundwater Urdu Versionpdf

On-farm water management learning resources for farmers pdf

On-farm water management Sindhi version

On-farm water management Urdu version

On-farm water management  manual Powerpoint slides Sindhi version

Peer reviewed papers and chapters

Ali Nawaz, R., Khalid Awan, U., Anjum, L., & Waqas Liaqat, U. (2021). A novel approach to analyze uncertainties and complexities while mapping groundwater abstractions in large irrigation schemes. Journal of Hydrology, 596, 126131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.126131

Mitchell, M., Allan, C., Punthakey, J. F., Finlayson, C. M., & Khan, M. R. (2021). Improving water management in Pakistan using social-ecological systems research. In M. A. Watto, M. Mitchell, & S. Bashir (Eds.), Water resources of Pakistan: Issues and impacts (pp. 249-271). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65679-9_13

Ahmed, W., Rahimoon, Z. A., Oroza, C. A., Sarwar, S., Qureshi, A. L., Punthakey, J. F., & Arfan, M. (2020). Modelling groundwater hydraulics to design a groundwater level monitoring network for sustainable management of fresh groundwater lens in Lower Indus Basin, Pakistan. Applied Sciences, 10(15), 5200. https://doi.org/10.3390/app10155200

Christen, E. W., Mitchell, M., Roth, C. & Rowley, E. (2019) Addressing research complexity: Analysing pathways to impact and using transdisciplinary approaches. Agricultural Science, 30/31(2/1), 32-43.

Imran, M. A., Ali, A., Ashfaq, M., Hassan, S., Culas, R. & Ma, C. (2019) Impact of climate smart agriculture (CSA) through sustainable irrigation management on resource use efficiency: A sustainable production alternative for cotton. Land Use Policy, 88, 104113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104113

Imran, M. A., Ali, A., Ashfaq, M., Hassan, S., Culas, R, & Ma, C.  Ma (2018) Impact of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) through Sustainable Irrigation Management on Cotton Production and Livelihood of Farmers in Punjab, Pakistan, Sustainability, 10(6), 2101; http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/6/2101

Books

Lytton, L., Ali, A., Garthwaite, B., Punthakey, J. F., & Saeed, B. (2021). Groundwater in Pakistan’s Indus Basin: present and future prospects. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/35065

Watto, M. A., Mitchell, M. & Bashir, S.  (Eds.), (2021).  Water resources of Pakistan: Issues and impacts (pp. 249-271). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-65679-9

Conference Papers

Akhtar, S., Zeeshan, M., Allan, C. & Mitchell, M. (2019) Community involvement in water management in Punjab, Pakistan: A strategy to sustainability of livelihoods of farmers. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Hassan, G., Allan, C., Punthakey, J., Mitchell, M. & Aktar, S. (2019) Groundwater regulation-governance-management nexus: a case study from Punjab, Pakistan. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Mitchell, M., Allan, C., Akhtar, S., Khair, S., Mangan, T. & Javad, K. (2019) Supporting better management of groundwater in Pakistan: a collaborative approach. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Khair, S.M., Rasid, A., Ahmed, F., Khilji, R., Mitchell, M. & Allan, C. (2019) Improving groundwater management using a participatory research approach in Balochistan, Pakistan. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Mangan, T., Nangraj, M., Mitchell, M., Allan, C. & Punthakey, J.F. (2019)  Exploring options for improved groundwater management using a participatory research approach in Sindh, Pakistan. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Javad, K., Mitchell, M., Allan, C.A. & Punthakey, J.F. (2019)The role of communications in building collaborative inquiry: Reflections from a complex groundwater project.  Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Ahmed, W., Shafgat, E., Punthakey, J. & Memon, A. (2019) Recommendation for groundwater management for lower Indus basin: a case study of Sukkur barrage left bank command. Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Hassan, G.Z., Allan, C. & Hassan, F.R. (2019) Historical sustainability of groundwater in Indus Basin of Pakistan. Paper presented at the 3rd World Irrigation Forum of ICID, Bali, Indonesia, September 1-7.

Khan, M., Punthakey, J., Mitchell, M., Allan, C.& Iqbal, S. (2019) Integrating web and mobile applications for improved groundwater management in a developing world context.Paper presented at Australasian Ground Water Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland, November 24 -27.

Reports

Khair, S., Ashfaq, M., Ali, A., Akhtar, S, Mangan, T. & Allan C. (2021a). Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan: Participatory Rural Appraisal: starting the co-inquiry to groundwater and livelihoods (ILWS Report No. 148). Albury: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University University.  https://www.csu.edu.au/research/ilws/publications/ilws-reports/2021/GW-ACIAR-Report-148.pdf

Mitchell, M., Awan, U. K., Iqbal, N., & Punthakey, J. (Eds.). (2021). Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods: Literature review (ILWS Report No. 147). Albury: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. https://www.csu.edu.au/research/ilws/publications/ilws-reports/2021/GW-ACIAR-Report-147.pdf

Waraich, R., Siyal, S., Akhtar, S., Mangan, T., & Allan, C. (Eds.). (2021). Gender, groundwater and livelihoods in Pakistan (ILWS Report No. 146). Albury: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. https://www.csu.edu.au/research/ilws/publications/ilws-reports/2021/GW-ACIAR-Report-146.pdf

Outcomes

Using a collaborative Impact Pathways analysis, the end of project outcomes were determined to be:

  • Farmers, farming organisations and partner non-government organisations have started introducing improved groundwater management practices
  • Government agencies in Pakistan  have started developing/demonstrating improved groundwater planning, monitoring, management strategies, options and policies
  • Relevant provincial-level government agencies, NGOs and farming organisations have developed effective partnerships for ongoing discussion on groundwater management issues and solutions

Contacts:

Adjunct Professor Jay Punthakey  email

Associate Professor Catherine Allan email

Dr Michael Mitchell email

Albury Wodonga Campus

September 2021