Pakistan is amongst the most water-stressed countries. Growing population and the uneconomical usage of water have resulted in water scarcity per capita. Among other factors, lack of interest in the development of water resources, few storage structures, and continuous depletion of groundwater because of unscientific methods of water usage for crops growing are also exacerbating the looming water and agricultural crises. However, the situation can be easily reversed; the government knows the solution: drip irrigation is the way out against unpredictable rainfall patterns.

The government has been promoting the idea of trickle/micro irrigation for almost a decade now. Since 2012, the government has been running a project promoting drip irrigation and its multiple benefits to the environment as well as farmers. However, the officials should adopt a more aggressive approach regarding the promotion of efficient watering techniques.

The authorities are already trying to incentivise the crop growers to adopt modern irrigation techniques by offering them 60 percent subsidy on installing such systems. However, many growers are still using conventional irrigation methods. The primary reason behind crop producers’ adherence to obsolete watering methods is lack of awareness. Hence, before anything else, the government must run a dedicated awareness campaign amongst farmers on the benefits of trickle irrigation. Awareness and the subsidies together will bring more and more farmers to deploy the new techniques.

Suffice to say that adopting efficient irrigation approaches are the need of the hour. Drip and sprinkler systems save up to 75 percent out of the 90 percent of water that Pakistan uses for agriculture. While these new methods can increase yields in the already cultivable lands, they can turn arid land parcels in crop-producing areas as well. Water scarcity is a significant challenge already; deploying modern methods for watering crops can save Pakistan from becoming further water-stressed.