THE seven-day World Water Forum just concluded in Istanbul on the occasion of World Water Day rightly underscored the harsh reality that the world was gradually heading towards a global freshwater crisis. There is no denying the forum's contention that global warming is causing glaciers to melt, desertification, and a lowering water-table, which are among the most sinister factors responsible for water scarcity. This should invariably set alarm bells ringing in Pakistan, for according to a World Bank report Pakistan is among the 17 countries, which would face severe water shortages by 2025. Even at present, water in our major reservoirs like Tarbela and Mangla has touched dead level. Moreover, accumulation of excessive sediment over the years has significantly reduced their storage capacity. The situation in our urban centres is becoming dismal, as freshwater gets scarce and the people are forced to line up in queues to get a bucketful of water. The water table in major cities has considerably gone down. River Ravi, that used to supply water to Lahorites, has almost dried up. Another element is that of India, which has built more than 50 dams in occupied Kashmir and other areas in gross violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. Last year, it blocked water flowing into Pakistan and stored it into the controversial Baglihar Dam, dealing a big blow to our agriculture and economy. While the government should go to the World Bank for arbitration, it should pay heed to the remedy prescribed by speakers like Dr Mubashar Hassan at the World Water Day in Lahore, who urged the government to build the Kalabagh Dam. The government ought not to waste time and must spare funds for such projects of national survival. Since Kalabagh's feasibility is established, there is no point in delaying its construction. Building a dam of the size of Kalabagh will enable the country to grapple with its water and energy needs as the stored water would be used for the generation of electricity as well.