Sir: The major reasons for this serious water scarcity can be attributed to poor water resource management, water wastage and lack of effective water conservation policy, low budget allocation and dearth of reservoirs and storage dams. No doubt, Pakistan has miserably failed in showing progressive approach towards water management.
Huge chunk of water is wasted in Pakistan and less than 0.2 percent of GDP is allocated for water and sanitation. Besides, since 1960s, new dams have not been built despite the fact that our dams can store water for 30 days only.
Research study on water resources reveals that “approximately water having economic values of $70 billion is being thrown into sea every year due to non-construction of water reservoirs”. Likewise, bourgeoning population, rapid urbanization and growing demand of water in agricultural and industrial sector have jointly made the water a dwindling resource. Additionally, devastating effects of climate change are also highly responsible for drought like situation in major Parts of the country.
According to 2017 Climate Change Index, “Pakistan is one of the most affected and vulnerable countries to climate change, ranking on 7th number out of 10 climate prrior nations of Asia”. Meanwhile, erractic weather and rainfall patterns, glacial melting, global warming and droughts have further aggravated the situation in Pakistan.
Undeniably, water is increasingly essential for the sustenance of human life; people’s livelihoods, food security and socio-economic stability of our country as well. Whereas, Pakistan is agricultural country. Around 42 percent workforce in rural areas work in agricultural fields.
Agriculture significantly contributes in Pakistan’s exports, GDP, per capita income and social and economic progress. Almost 21 percent of GDP and 70 percent exports are created from it like cotton, wheat, rice etc. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to say that water is lifeline for Pakistan. Without that socio-economic advancement cannot be attained.
So, lets work in tandem to fix this pressing problem to stabilize our country at all fronts. Water crisis is getting worse from bad day by day. That is why immediate and special attention must be paid to water management on government side. The government should chalk out the best possible plannings for building more water reservoirs and storage dams in the country as they will go long way towards resolving this pressing problem.
Furthermore, there is the dire need to formulate an effective water resource management and conservation agenda, a uniform water distribution policy and an efficient plan for controlling water wastage. Moreover, state must invest in climate change mitigation and adaption strategies to save the country from its miserable impacts. Apart from this the state need to ensure that every citizen has smooth access to clean and drinkable water.
The only way to tackle this alarming water crisis is to take urgent and strategic action in this very direction. Otherwise, it will be too late to act when the country’s water resources would go dry and there will be no drop to drink!
ASSAD ALI BALOCH
Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.