There is now a plethora of literature and research studies conducted by organisations like World Bank (WB), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), International Monetary Fund (IMF) that lament Pakistan’s poor use of its water resources. It is unfortunate to note that no previous government has ever paid serious attention to as precious commodity as water. While the tragedy of commons is a flawed concept, it is true in the case of Pakistan where the state, as well as the public, have always taken water resources for granted. The 191-pages-thick-study titled ‘Getting More from Water’ made by WB is an investigation into water security in Pakistan.

The study says that Pakistan does not make the best use of its water endowment nor does it pay any attention to the environmental outcomes from water in Pakistan, and water-dependent ecosystems. The findings of the study cannot be ignored because a significant share of Pakistan’s water resources goes to the agriculture sector, where the irrigation practices are out-dated. Instead of using sprinkler or drip technologies, Pakistani farmers still rely on flooding their lands. Moreover, the domestic use of water is also not regulated. The study suggests some interventions through which water security in Pakistan can improve. However, will the state take the report seriously is the question worth asking.

Nevertheless, what is encouraging is the fact that PCRWR has already drafted the first ever ‘Water Conservation Bill’ that is a conglomeration of steps required for water conservation. The bill is already sent to the relevant ministry, i.e., Ministry of Science and Technology. Unfortunately, the ministry is showing no concern regarding the urgency of the matter. The said bill has many valuable suggestions that the government need to incorporate in every walk of life for better conservation of water – arguably the most valuable commodity.

It is about time that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) put up water security on top of its priorities. The country is already water-stressed one. By 2025, specialists and researchers fear, Pakistan could “run dry” as the water shortage is reaching an alarming level. Pakistan has already crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005, and the people will live in the most water-stressed country in the region by the year 2040 if the government does not take the issue water security on an emergency basis. The government should take swift actions in the light of the WB study and PCRWR drafted bill to bring down the rate of water use – fourth highest in the world. Failing to bring the water usage down will turn the country in a desert.