Islamabad - President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Tuesday called for settling disputes to construct mega projects without which future of the country seems bleak.
He said that demand and supply gas for water has reached alarming levels, which will make Pakistan a desert in a decade if immediate steps were not taken.
Politicians should settle their dispute in the larger national interest and government should declare water as most important issue of national security.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that climate change, decreasing glaciers and forests and well as water aggression by the neighbouring country has been depleting groundwater in almost all the parts of the country, which is a grave threat.
He said that different areas have been witnessing reduction in water table from four to 12 inches per annum while some areas have witnessed reduction of three to four feet annually, which has increased the cost of pumping water through tube wells. Government can reduce sales tax on light diesel or provide subsidy to farmers to balance their expenditure, he demanded.
He said that scarcity of water is to hurt water intensive crops like rice and sugar cane in the beginning and entire agricultural chain subsequently, which will create problems like unemployment, food security and closure of our leading industries.
Almost 145 million acre feet (MAF) water passes annually through country of which only 14 MAF could be stored enough for one month while international standard stood at three months of storage.
Pakistan’s population would be 250 million by 2025; demand for water would be at 338 billion cubic meters while availability would be 236 BCM creating many challenges.
The veteran business leader said that government should try to stop neighbouring country from stealing our water, introduce new verities of seed requiring less water, train farmers to use less water and make reservoirs to store floodwater, which will improve water table.
Some experts have suggested that highest probability of war on water is in the South Asia, which can transform into a world war. This can be averted if Indus Water Treaty is not violated in which international powers must play their role.
He called upon the politicians to give top priority to water security and agree on construction of mega projects to which future of Pakistan is tied.