Experts for ‘circular water economy’ to prevent ecological disaster

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A panel of experts has stressed the need for boosting water productivity for better use in urban centres through latest techniques and joint efforts as the resource is depleting at an unprecedented rate.

The experts spoke at length on Wednesday at a webinar held during 5th Karachi International Water Conference titled ‘Circular water economy in urban context’, moderated by Dr Mohsin Hafeez, Country Representative, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan and Central Asia.

In his opening remarks, Dr Mohsin said that Pakistan was using even less than 1% of wastewater after treatment. He said that use of wastewater after treatment should be the key priority.

“We need to pump water back into the system after treatment to overcome the water scarcity in Pakistan,” Dr Mohsin said.

The IWMI representative said that water productivity needed to be enhanced for generations to come. He said that untreated flowing wastewater was polluting the entire food chain.

Dr Mohsin quoted the example of Australia where potable water was not used for flushing purposes and compared it to Pakistan where the use of potable water for flushing was very common.

In his address, Dr Pay Drechsel, research quality adviser at IWMI from Colombo, Sri Lanka, said that water reuse was the key component of a circular economy.

He dispelled the impression that technology was pivotal to circular economy and said that business models and awareness was also needed in this regard.

Deploring water scarcity at the global level, Dr Drechsel revealed that 28 percent of world’s large cities, including Karachi, were moving towards Day Zero, a reference to the water supply shut off.

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