Akber Khoso, in his letter ‘A town called Johi’ in The Nation narrated the miseries of the people of Johi, who have to go miles to fetch drinking water, the farmers have no water to irrigate their fields because whatever water is available is being usurped by the influential, people have to migrate. Unfortunately, this is the story of people all over Pakistan, who are facing scarcity of water. The amount available per person has reduced drastically over the years because of increase in population and because we are not storing any water.

Let us say for example, that a man has a fixed income which is sufficient for him at present, might not be in the same position when the size of his family increases. The size of the Pakistan family was 8 crore, when our second dam was built and the two dams started giving us 104 million acre feet of irrigation water (one maf is one foot of water standing over one million acres). Now after 38 years, the size of our family has increased to 19 crore, but we still have the same fixed income in terms of water. Should it then be a surprise that there are severe shortages all around, of drinking water, of water for irrigation, of water for industry, of water for power generation? Only a third mega dam can increase the 104 maf that we have been managing with for the last 38 years. Small dams will not fill the huge gap between supply and demand, Dasu dam will not give us any water, Bhasha dam has many physical hurdles to cross and will take many years to deliver. The only dam without any physical hurdle is Kalabagh dam.


Lahore, September 28.