OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE Pakistan is wasting 35 million acres feet of water which flows into the sea un-utilised every year, when the country is endowed with innumerable locations for setting up of large reservoirs, Pakistan Engineering Congress President Engineer Husanain Ahmed said on Saturday. He was delivering a lecture in connection with the World Water Day organised by the Congress where former PEC secretary Engineer Mian Iftikharul Haq was the chief guest. Husanain said, It is reflective of utter mindlessness bordering on insanity that we have failed to construct any dam in the last 30 years particularly when our country is facing water shortage. Pakistan enjoyed per capita water availability of 5,260 cubic meters in 1951 when population was 34 million, he said and added it had reduced to 1,038 cubic meters and was fast nearing the water scarce country category. He further disclosed that the underground water level had gone down from about 70-100 feet to up to 1,000 feet and said it was worsening the situation. He observed that the main crops of the country required 94 million acres feet of water but usually 76 MAF water available in the country. Husanain said that the construction of Kalabagh dam including small dams across the country was necessary to ensure safe water supply to rural population. He suggested installation of household water treatment appliances, and said that new water supply pipes were also needed to control waterborne diseases. He maintained that the goals and objectives of the National Drinking Water Policy were good but the ground realities were extremely disturbing as 80 million people have no access to potable water. He said that 70 per cent diseases are waterborne involving financial loss of Rs 112 billion per year. He added that costs associated with diseases alone causes loss of Rs 55 billion to 80 billion. Only 65 per cent people, he said, have access to potable water while 1.5 million people of Thar Desert were facing chronic shortage of water due to scant rainfall and have to move with their cattle/belongings from place to place in search of greener pastures. He further said that the situation was detrimental to livestock at Thar, consequently causing financial loss.