Water scarcity in Pakistan

Water is the most important element necessary for human beings, animals, insects, plants even for whole planet. Sources of water available in Pakistan are rainfall, surface water available in rivers and underground water available below the earth surface. After the Indus Water Treat, water of only two Rivers i.e. Jhelum and Chenab are available for Pakistan while the availability of water in remaining three Rivers i.e. Ravi, Sutlej and Bias will be under India’s control. After the construction of dams and barrages by India on River Chenab and Jhelum the Indus Basin Treaty was violated, hence created problems of water shortage for Pakistan which is still becoming more and more severe with the passage of time.

According to the UNO report, Pakistan is at 7th position in the list of countries which are facing water crisis. Presently, Pakistan has surface water of 153 MAF and underground water resources of only 24 MAF and may face water shortage of 33 MAF during the year 2025.

The population of Pakistan is increasing at a rate of 3.2%. Currently, we have to feed more than 200 million people and if population rate remains the same then it will be almost double by the year 2025 and hence, the consumption of the underground water will also add to the problem which will further be aggravated by the factors of global warming and the climatic changes.

According to a research study on water resources of Pakistan, approximately water having economic values of 70 billion dollars is being thrown in the sea every year due to non-construction of water reservoirs. A water shortage country which has foreign reserve of only 20 billion dollars cannot afford throwing water of economic value of 70 billion dollars every year in the sea.

Study of Pakistan Counsel of Research on water Resources of Pakistan (PCRWR) revealed that rapid depletion of ground water may soon create worsening water crisis in Pakistan especially in major cities causing a drought like situation. Such crisis need to be taken on war footings otherwise, a large section of Pakistani population will be affected with severe shortage of water.

Due to excessive pumping of underground water quality of underground water is contaminating rapidly with heavy metals like Copper, Nickel and Cobalt etc which is an important cause of spreading Hepatitis and various other diseases.

The problem of water shortage in Pakistan has gained the momentum as our water capacity is only for 30 days and Pakistan has the 4th highest rate of water use in the world. It simply means that water intensity rate – the amount of water in cubic meters used per unit of GDP is the world highest and no country economy is more water intensive then Pakistan.

The remedial measures to overcome these horrible water shortage in Pakistan immediate steps to be taken include:

  • Preparation of Country water policy.
  • Construction of water reservoirs.
  • National action plan to be formulate for judicial use of available water.
  • Reduction of water losses through seepage, leaching and percolation by lining of Canals, Distributaries and Water Channels.
  • Controlled over pumping of underground water and over irrigation practices.
  • By increasing the water use efficiency of the crops by switching from conventional agriculture to conservative agriculture.
  • By adopting water use efficient methods of irrigation like Sprinkler, Basin and Drip irrigation.

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