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Pakistan relies on the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world, namely the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) for basic food security and supply of water for all sectors of the economy. The IBIS is thus the backbone of the country’s economy. The agriculture sector that is supported by this system continues to play a critical role in the economy and the livelihoods of rural communities. Agriculture in most areas is not possible without irrigation because the climate is arid to semi-arid with low and variable rainfall. Climate change will therefore impact the overall water availability and agriculture yields in this system. Therefore, the objective (of the talk) was to simulate climate change scenarios in existing models that are being used for Pakistan, and to explore how these scenarios of climate variability (e.g. floods),agriculture and water policies will impact the macro-economy and different households.

By using this broad, holistic approach to estimate the likely hydrologic and crop impacts of climate change risks, the macro-economic and household-level responses are an effective method for assessing a variety of adaptation investments and policies. The results of the model and the key takeaways were that the scenarios for the future from the Global Climate Models (GCM’s) show a great deal of uncertainty. This is in fact a positive thing because it will prepare Pakistan for uncertainty and adaptability rather than preparing for a determined scenario. The model framework presented by Casey Brown, using existing models can prove to be effective for use at a provincial level where economic allocation of water can lead to optimal productivity. – Laila Kasuri, student at Harvard College