The excellent letter on Kalabagh dam by Mr Rafi Nasim in the Nation of July 08 is very timely as a Report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said, “Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, not far from being classified as ‘water-scarce’, with less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year”, down from 5,000 cubic meters in 1947. The report adds that Pakistan has failed to construct any major water reservoir for the last over 40 years and has a dangerously low storage capacity of only 30-day supply for any contingency, natural or manmade.While the policymakers in Pakistan have turned a blind eye to this serious challenge, ADB has warned that achieving agricultural productivity and strengthening food security requires improving the management, storage, and pricing of water for irrigation. ADB and WB can go on warning us, but our rulers are more worried about the federation’s vitality, but at what cost? Shortage of water means shortage of food. Mothers risking their lives to get a bag of flour for their hungry children, some do not return home, what a price for federations’ vitality?18 crore people are trying to survive on the same amount of water that was available 38 years ago for 8 crore people, when the last dam was built, and the next dam is 15 years away i.e. 53 years without a dam just to protect federation’s vitality! Groundwater has receded to 200 feet, tube wells are drying up, town supplies are dwindling, all to save federation’s vitality. 30 million acres are lying barren but we will not build a dam to irrigate them for the sake of federation’s vitality. The price the nation has paid so far for federations vitality is $240 billion, $2 billion for each maf capacity i.e. $12 billion per year over the last 20 years. Not to mention the billions of rupees lost every year to the flood waters of Kabul, Chitral, Swat, Haro and Soan rivers. South Punjab and Sindh will have to pay this price every year to save federation’s vitality.When will we sit down with those whose vitality is threatened and tell them that the nation can no longer afford to go on paying the prohibitive cost of not building Kalabagh dam, just because of some imaginary fears that Indus will dry up and Sindh will become a desert, because Punjab will take all the water, despite the guarantees under the Water Accord and despite Sindh having a majority of votes in IRSA. Can anything be more absurd?ENGR KHURSHID ANWER, Lahore, July 9.