LAHORE -  The businessmen have shown grave concern on severe water scarcity in the country and said that this crisis would directly hit the agriculture and power sectors of the country.

LCCI President Abdul Basit said that Pakistan is an agrarian country and cannot afford water dearth at any cost but unfortunately no strategy has been evolved to take this major issue. He said that the country is dependent on only two big dams including Tarbela and Mangla. It is a matter of concern that water storage capacity of the two dams has been reduced significantly and situation would be more concerning with the passage of time.

“Lack of storage reservoirs and wastage are the biggest reasons of water shortage in the country. Ongoing water crisis is a result of putting Kalabagh Dam into dispute, while around 12 million acre feet water wasted to sea during 2016-17 that is equal to the capacity of two big-dams”, he added.

LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that Pakistan can hardly escape from becoming a big desert, unless drastic measures are taken instantly. “Sufficient availability of water is must for sustainable development but in Pakistan per capita availability of water was decreasing because we have water but not enough reservoirs for storage,” they added. The LCCI office-bearers said that with every passing year, Pakistan is getting close to the brink of mass starvation because of a drastic cut in water availability from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in 1950s to 1000 cubic meters.

LCCI former vice president Kashif Anwar said, “As per World Bank analysis, our storage capacity has gone down to 150 acre feet. India has improved its per capita storage up to 200 acre feet which will get further better once under-construction dams start operating.”

He said that these facts call for establishing water reservoirs in the whole country which will enhance the capacity of water storage. They said that the same reservoirs will come handy in case of low and medium floods.

GCCI former president Samee Ullah Ch said that Pakistan’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture sector. “This sector engages almost 45 percent of our work force. Our leading manufacturing sector is textiles, which gets basic input from agriculture. Without water, there is no survival of agriculture,” he stated.

FPCCI President Zubair Tufail said, “There is no second opinion on it that most of the challenges we are facing today are the result of poor planning done to manage the water resources. It is said that it never too late to mend. If we come up with a joint strategy on water conservation, we can evade severe or may be insurmountable challenges of future.”