ISLAMABAD -  The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has said mismanagement of water and inadequate storages will be biggest threat for our agriculture sector in the near future which needs to be addressed on priority basis.

Regional chairman of the FPCCI Horticulture Committee, Ahmad Jawad said that annually Pakistan is facing Rs 25 billion loss due to lack of storage dams and in order to save Tarbela dam, construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam is mandatory to maintain the necessary reserves of the water.

Jawad said lack of water reservoirs has already caused over a trillion dollars’ worth of economic loss to Pakistan’s economy in the last 30 years, which now manifests itself in the prevalent energy crisis and unfortunately we only constructed two major dams in the past which was big blunder.

"Pakistan has to go for viable projects after every ten years in order to save the mountainous water; so that drainage into sea may be minimized; regardless as per the Indus water treaty we can’t receive due water share".

Jawad said Pakistan as a nation is lenient when it comes to the value of water management – whether for drinking, farming, controlling floods, improving environment or generating cheap power.

“Despite being potentially the richest nation in the subcontinent, the country, since independence, had been unable to protect water in its river channels. This led the neighbours to overstep their bounds, sparking disputes in an already heated arena,” he said.

“We are a strange agrarian country that has no interest in protecting the backbone of our economy and has not been able to build mega dams for 41 years now.”

According to FPCCI official, Pakistan is generating just half a dollar from one cubic metre of water. Compare that to the world average of $8. In some cases, such as that of Japan, the number inflates to an incredible $30.

Contrasting Pakistan’s nonchalant attitude with India’s, he noted, Indian nationalists, since independence, have realized the importance of water for growth. They established an organization – International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage – in 1950 as part of the ‘India First’ agenda.

“Since then, they have positioned themselves at a level of great influence with multilateral institutes and government agencies worldwide. It now serves hundreds of international clients, even multilateral agencies,” he said.

Pakistan should have at least 200 small, medium and mega dams, unfortunately it only has 61, out of which only two are mega dams, he said.

“If Pakistan can make three more mega dams like Bhasha dam, Kalabagh dam and a general storage dam somewhere up north, things may start going our way,” said Jawad.