THE water issue raised its head in the Punjab Assembly on Thursday, though the House did not pass a resolution, because the Punjab government had not presented its point of view, not because President Asif Ali Zardari had clarified his position on the meeting which had caused the controversy in the first place. The clarification, made by presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar, said that the President had not issued any instructions for the reduction of the Punjab's share in the Kharif water, and for the increase in the share of any province. The President had merely called on the shortage to be shared in the light of the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord. According to the clarification, the meeting in Karachi, at which the President was present, was merely informed of steps that had already been decided by IRSA. However, the PML(N) (Treasury) and the PML(Q) (Opposition) reacted negatively to the reports of the Karachi meeting, and pressed for the passage of a condemnatory resolution. Perhaps it was appropriate that the main brunt of the defence of the President should fall to Senior Minister Raja Riaz, who also holds the Irrigation portfolio, and even he was moved to say that any cut in the Punjab's share would lead to his resigning the portfolio. The clarification has been careful to add that the IRSA meeting in question was duly attended by the representatives from the Punjab. Not just the Punjab or Sindh, but the whole country, is suffering a water shortage. This is very serious for a country that still depends on its agriculture for its prosperity. Short-term measures, foremost being the careful following of the 1991 Accord so that no federating unit has cause for complaint, thus count for much. At the same time, the lining of all water channels must be pursued, while drip and trickle irrigation techniques must be introduced. However, it is all the more imperative to build further water reservoirs, especially the one project, the Kalabagh Dam, which is ready for implementation.