The Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD), COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), held a Consultative Meeting on Water Metering and Pricing in Pakistan on 26 April 2019, as part of their ongoing efforts to engage on water conservation, in line with the policy measures noted in the National Water Policy 2018.
Under the CCRD “Smart Water Metering and Pricing (SWMP) Project: A Steps towards Sustainable Development”, funded through the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the Consultative Meeting brought together members of government, NGOs, development agencies and civil society to deliberate on a specific water conservation strategy – urban water metering and pricing.
Representatives from the Federal Flood Commission, Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, LEAD Pakistan, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, Preston Institute of Nano Science and Technology (PINSAT), Pakistan Council for Research on Water Resources, were present for the meeting. Technical Advising Team for the SWMP Project, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Kinzelbach, ETH Zurich, and Dr. Haijing Wang, Hydrosolutions, were also present to provide a description of similar thinking in other developing countries where water stress is leading to innovative methods of water conservation.
Mr. Hassaan Sipra, Scientific Officer at CCRD, moderated the meeting. Opening remarks by Professor Dr. Athar Hussain, Head of CCRD, highlighted the key achievements of CCRD in the water sector, including work with UNDP on the vulnerability of the water sector to climate change in Pakistan. Further, Dr. Toqeer Ahmed, Principle Investigator for the SWMP Project, provided a snapshot of project achievements, such as the installation of 20 smart water meters in Sector I-8 of Islamabad, a water demand/supply and willingness-to-pay survey of more than 500 households and commercial units, and project expansion potential, as a guiding point for discussion.
The various representatives noted the research scope of the project was strong and gives direction for municipal water suppliers to engage further, adding that the development of a low-cost, indigenous smart water meter would allow for greater implementation of water conservation through awareness raising and data generation. Members of the agricultural sector were keen to see the applications of this project for conservation of water in their sector, while municipal representatives discussed the need to use this technology to target bigger water users, namely private housing schemes and industries. Additionally, representatives made clear that smart water metering has to work with other strategies for water conservation, including drainage discharge measurements, rainwater harvesting and gray water reuse for various purposes.
Professor Dr. N. M. Butt, Chairperson, PINSAT, delivered closing remarks congratulating the CCRD on their project execution, followed by tea and refreshments in the CUI Faculty Cafeteria.