Islamabad - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that water scarcity was emerging as a grave threat to the survival of the country, but unfortunately the policymakers seemed to be unconcerned.

“Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and may hit masses, agriculture and industry soon,” said PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal, and added, “In the last few years the defence budget had been significantly increased to combat terrorism ignoring the fact that water scarcity could even be a bigger menace than terrorism.”

He said, “Our country touched the "water stress line" in 1990 and crossed the "water scarcity line" in 2005, but it was not enough to draw attention of the policy makers.” Mughal warned that if steps were not taken to arrest the situation country was likely to face a drought-like situation in near future.

“It is alarming that our capacity to preserve water has shrunk over the years,” he said, and added, “We haven't built new dams since 1960s, and the capacity of existing ones to store water is decreasing.”

PEW president further said that Pakistan had the world's fourth highest rate of water use, while its water intensity rate in cubic meters, used per unit of GDP was the world's highest.

“This suggests that no country's economy is more water-intensive than Pakistan's,” he noted. Citing International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) statement, he said Pakistan was already the third most water-stressed country in the world.

He said that the government should immediate release additional funds to overcome the water scarcity, try to bring all people on one page for the construction of mega dams and stop India from using water as a weapon against Pakistan.