LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has termed huge water shortage in dams alarming and has declared that Pakistan will be facing irreparable loss if new water reservoirs and dams are not built. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that the water storage capacity has gone down considerably and that all those opposing the important water and power projects are responsible. Pakistan is an agrarian economy and cannot afford a water shortage but unfortunately, no strategy has been formulated to resolve this important issue. He said that the country is dependent on only two big dams: Tarbela and Mangla. It is a matter of concern that the water storage capacity of the two dams has reduced significantly and the situation would worsen with the passage of time. “Lack of reservoirs and wastage are the biggest reasons for this water shortage in Pakistan,” said the LCCI President. “Ongoing water crisis is a result of putting Kalabagh Dam into a dispute while previous year, around 12 million acre-feet water was lost to the sea which is equal to the capacity of two big-dams.” Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan can hardly escape from becoming a large desert unless drastic measures are taken instantly. He said that sufficient availability of water is a must for sustainable development but in Pakistan, per capita availability of water is decreasing because we do not have enough reservoirs for storage. The LCCI President said that with every passing year, Pakistan is getting close to the brink of mass starvation because of a drastic cut in water availability from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in the 1950s to 1000 cubic meters. He added that according to the World Bank analysis, our storage capacity has gone down to 150 acre feet. India has improved its per capita storage up to 200 acre feet which will get better once the under-construction dams start operating. He said that these facts call for establishing water reservoirs in the whole country to enhance the capacity of water storage. Malik Tahir Javaid said that after every two to three years we have to face floods in Pakistan that adversely affect our economy and push us back by many years.He said that the same reservoirs will come handy in case of low and medium floods. He said that Pakistan’s economy is heavily reliant on the agriculture sector. This sector engages almost 45% of our workforce. He said that our leading manufacturing sector is textiles, which gets basic input from agriculture. The LCCI President said that the government has to take steps for water conservation as well as its effective use. He said that the efficient use of water through water conservation will reduce the capital and operational costs leading to economic stability and growth. He said that there is no second opinion about the challenges we are facing today being the result of poor planning to manage the water resources. If we come up with a joint strategy on water conservation, we can evade severely or may be insurmountable challenges of future. Published in Daily Times, July 11th 2018.