KARACHI - Global experts have warned that the third world war would be fought over water since almost all the countries are facing the water crisis as their population is drastically increasing and resources are decreasing.

“Water is a great gift of nature and its significance is unlimited. The demand for water will be drastically high in the coming years which will have dangerous outcomes. Pakistan’s population is increasing rapidly but the water resources are not in that much abundance. Measures must be taken to save water at government level.”

These views were expressed by Karachi University (KU) Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan at a programme held in connection with World Water Day, organised by Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization (ISHU) and Al Khidmat Foundation at KU.

“Canada has the most water reserves in the world while Qatar has the lowest where 1 liter water is available in 5 dollars,” informed the vice chancellor.

Dr Nuzhat Khan from the National Institute of Oceanography said that in the coming 20 years some countries would be highly affected by the acute shortage of water. “China, India and South Africa, Middle East and Pakistan may be among the most adversely affected countries,” Nuzhat said, and added, “Inadequate access to safe drinking water of over 1.1 billion people and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity are some of the major issues.”

Nuzhat further said that regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulted in warfare.

“There are 26 percent of water reserves in South America, out of the total water reserves found globally, which caters to the needs of only 6 percent,” she said, and added, “On the other hand, Asia having 60 percent of the global population has just 36 percent of the global water reserves.  Africa has 11 percent, Europe has 8 percent, North and Central Americas have 15 percent each, while Australia and Oceania have 5 percent of the global water reserves.”

ISHU Director Professor Dr Bilquees Gul delivered the vote of thanks and said that 22nd March was celebrated as world water day worldwide. “Its purpose is to identify and create awareness about the waterborne diseases, their effects and the significance of pure drinking water,” Gul said, and added, “Such seminars must be organised regularly and the Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization will organise such events from time to time.”

Dr Abdul Malik from Al Khidmat Foundation said that the Foundation was going to organise awareness campaigns in various cities and villages. “Right now, 73 filtration plants, 1515 wells, 4122 hand pumps and many more are working in Pakistan under the Al Khidmat Foundation, facilitating around 1.4 million people while we are also working on 374 water projects,” he informed.