One of the most essential natural resources for the survival of life on the mother planet earth ie fresh water is fast depleting throughout the globe. Global warming, environmental degradation, melting of glaciers and the fast pace of urbanisation have further worsened the challenge of managing freshwater sources. The experts, based on daily human consumption need, have concluded that storage of at least 120 days’ reserve is essential to meet any unforeseen weather situation for any country.The world is cognizant of this changing phenomenon and responsible nations were fast to act by planning and executing water reservoir projects to preserve this precious commodity. The situation is so precarious that strategists and leading think-tanks have predicted future wars for possession of fresh water sources. Repeated violations of Sindh Tass Agreement by India for storing Pakistan’s share of water and diverting the river flows in utter disregard to international law of the rights of lower riparian is a case in point, which could trigger a war between the nuclear-armed belligerents in the future. Pakistan is listed among the top water-starved nations of the world and as per the calculations of experts, it can have a drought-like situation from 2025. Although it is blessed with an adequate annual water flow of approximately 140 million acre-feet of water through its rivers, Pakistan still has a negligible capacity for storage. Only 10 percent of the total water is stored, while the remaining water flows to the sea unutilised causing a loss of over $ 20 bn annually. This overflow of rivers’ water leads to floods downstream causing huge economic losses to the nation annually.The construction of Kalabagh Dam would have not only saved Pakistan from the impending water crisis but could have also met its much-required energy needs. However, it was politicised and fell prey to the so-called ‘National Consensus’. The last chance to build Kalabagh Dam was wasted by General Pervez Musharraf due to political compulsionsCompared to India which has built over 5000 water reservoirs with a much safer storage capacity of 170 days, Pakistan has an embarrassing figure of only 170 water reservoirs of all types, and even out of that only two are considered to hold a high percentage of water. All the major water reservoirs in Pakistan were built in the 1960s, and over a period of time accumulated the silt has reduced their storage capacity significantly. Out of 140 million acre-feet going down to Sea about 80 percent of the excess water flows down the rivers in three months, while the remaining 20 percent is wasted in 9 months; thereby affecting both Rabee and Khareef Crops. Pakistan has the largest irrigation system in the world and 60 percent of the economy is dependent upon agricultural yield, yet no major water reservoir has been built for the last 48 years. Therefore, most of its canals are non-perennial. The construction of Kalabagh Dam would have not only saved Pakistan from the impending water crisis but could have also met its much-required energy needs. However, it was politicised and fell prey to the so-called ‘National Consensus’.The last chance to build Kalabagh Dam was wasted by General Pervez Musharraf due to political compulsions. The succeeding two political governments only paid lip service to address the serious issue of planning, developing political consensus and arranging funds for a major water reservoir. The Nawaz government half-heartedly worked on Diamer Bhasha Dam with no plans for its funding and no clear timeline to complete the project. However, selection of the site of the dam, technical feasibility, initial planning and acquisition of a certain percentage of land can at best be attributed to their credit. As the selected site partially falls in the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir, international monetary organisations are reluctant to fund the project because of pressure exerted by India.Realising the importance of the issue, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) took the initiative to establish the Diamer Bhasha Dam Fund Account and appealed to the nation to contribute generously to save the future generations of Pakistanis. Within first 20 days of holding the office, Prime Minister, Imran Khan asked all Pakistanis specifically those living outside of Pakistan to donate generously for the construction of the Dam in the next five years to save the country from an impending water crisis. While the opposition is critical of the funding process of the Dam, Pakistan Army alone has contributed over one billion rupees to the Dam Fund and other government/semi government organisations are largely appreciative of the Chief Justice’s and Prime Minister’s initiative.Pakistan has now become aware of the fact that the building of major water reservoirs is the need of the hour. It has now become a national movement as citizens from all walks of life contribute to the Fund, and a few media houses have also aired fundraising programmes. The need is so grave that the project has to be executed on war footings.It is now or never, and like a last and final call to board the plane, if we miss it, we will miss the chance for good. Suggestions by economic experts to float shares in the stock market and bonds for the Dam Fund should also be evaluated and executed quickly to make this dream come true. With Allah’s will and blessings, we will succeed in completing the Diamer-Bhasha, Mohmand and Kalabagh dams in five years’ time.The writer is a defence and security analyst based in IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, September 26th 2018.