‘Watershed management’ is a topic that has become a standard lexicon and a constant favorite at various hydrological conferences, but how often have we heard of this term? I would say, ‘not enough!’ So, what exactly is watershed management? It is the process by which loss of water and sediments from a certain region are prevented through proper planning, programs and projects. It includes, overall water quality, water supply, water rights, drainage, surface runoff, utilization of watersheds and etcetera.The call for integrated watershed management was initially made by Pakistan’s National Climate Change Strategy to mitigate the impacts of climate change, requiring a multi stakeholder strategy of management. This brought together all sorts of stakeholders from private corporations, government, academia, religious leaders, community organizations and even tourists to play their complementary roles for watershed stewardship. Pakistan’s unfortunate land management practices have resulted in deforestation in different regions, leading to water shortage and flash floods. To address this issue, the mountainous catchment areas are being developed where stream flow brings water from the rivers. The groundwater recharge is then reinstated through reforestation and soil restoration. By expanding the cultivable land, water loss is reduced without the loss of sediments. However, this isn’t achievable without a stakeholder inclusive approach.An illustrious example could be the initiation of an integrated watershed management project in 2008, of Ayubia National Park (ANP), supervised by World Wildlife Fund Pakistan (WWF) in collaboration with Coca-Cola Pakistan. This initiative has achieved ongoing extraordinary results. The Ayubia National Park in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a part of Western Himalayan eco-region, responsible for 70 to 80% catchment of the Indus River water. Those who have visited the site previously will be aware that it had become almost barren and the area was facing water scarcity, loss in springs, and sediment formation due to deforestation; resulting in reduced tourism activities. Through the efforts of WWF and Coca-Cola Pakistan, water replenishment rate of this project saw a massive increase, calculated at 560 million liters of rainwater to the groundwater with the stabilization of sediments at 1381.74 m due to reduction in loss of top soil. The plantation of 140,000 trees also helped in converting it into a greener, worth visiting destination.Apart from 135,000 beneficiaries of the project, it is the role of women there that will put you in awe, they did not only assisted their families with farming but also fetched water and firewood for cooking from far flung areas. With time under this project, these women have been trained for rainwater harvesting, kitchen gardening, running nurseries, poultry farming, and training other women for the same. They were also provided with solar cooking stoves to cut down their daily firewood quests. It is heartening to see the difference brought about by the integrated efforts of corporates to raise awareness, as well as helping in the capacity building of the local communities.The question is, how long will we take in making ‘integrated watershed management’ more of a standard lexicon at a national level especially when the sustainability of freshwater is at stake? To ensure the continuous supply of freshwater in ANP and other similar projects initiated for the cause of watershed management in Pakistan, it is imperative to measure the impact of this project and identify solutions for a sound water policy development. The integration of WWF and Coca-Cola Pakistan exemplifies the strong role corporate sector can play in supporting watershed management projects.The writer is a communications expert, specializing in strategic writing and research.