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Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan

Pakistan’s population of over 180 million relies heavily on agriculture, which contributes 21 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and more than 40 percent of its employment. Around 95 percent of the country’s water consumption is used for agriculture, and the pressure on available resources is increasing.

Surface water supply is variable, particularly for farmers at the tail end of canals and distributaries in Sindh and Punjab provinces. Dependence on groundwater has increased with over one million tube wells in use. Groundwater decline and spread of salinisation is rendering fertile lands unusable.Electricity subsidisation, inefficient irrigation practices and lack of regulation exacerbates groundwater over-extraction. Lack of monitoring, awareness, and other socio-political constraints compound the challenge of pursuing productive and sustainable groundwater use.

This project is a collaboration through partnerships to address the complexity of achieving effective and fair groundwater management. This project aims to build 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. Building capacity means building skills, knowledge and confidence, and providing relevant tools and processes.