LAHORE-Millions of litres of clean drinking water is currently being extracted from the ground for routine horticulture watering and cleaning of roads in Lahore. This is despite the fact that Lahore’s groundwater levels are now falling at a rate of about 0.7 to 0.9 metres a year, according to WWF-Pakistan. The water table in the centre of the city is now 40 metres down and is expected to fall below 70 metres by 2025, as recently noted by WWF researchers. Further, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan is ranked third among the countries facing severe water shortage.

To avoid any crisis situation, sustainable planning is required by all stakeholders to conserve fresh drinking water. A good example of such required synergy and sustainable planning is a recently signed agreement between Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Ltd. (CCI Pakistan) and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Lahore. As per the signed agreement, CCI Pakistan will provide treated industrial waste water to PHA for watering of green belts, parks and cleaning of roads in Lahore. CCI Pakistan’s Lahore plant being capable of providing up to 40,000 litres of treated waste water per hour to PHA, will help conserve millions of litres of fresh drinking water which is currently being extracted from the ground for horticulture watering.

Pakistan is hurtling towards water scarcity crisis due to population growth, inefficient use of water for irrigation and overexploitation of groundwater. As revealed by a recent World Bank report (2019), Pakistan’s annual per capita availability of water has dropped below 1,000 cubic metres as compared to 5,650 cubic metres in 1947. By regional and international comparison, around 1,600 cubic metres of water is available per capita in India, while major European countries have up to twice as much, ranging from 2,300 cubic metres in Germany to 3,000 in France.

The foreseeable paucity of this precious resource caused due to ignorance and its effect on the economy can be collared through earnest solutions. The situation can be turned around by accepting water conservation as a collective responsibility and devising smart ways to manage wastewater and reuse it for non-drinking purposes. By adopting modern sustainable practices that conserve this precious resource, we can build an environment friendly eco-system and choose to progress with responsibility.