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The Aggravating Water Crisis

The Aggravating Water Crisis

By: Asad Hussain

Water is the most important element for the survival of living beings; without it life cannot sustain. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been facing severe blows and acute problems owing to the scarcity of water. According to a report by the Washington-based World Resources Institute, Pakistan will be the most water-stressed country in the South Asian region by 2040.

If history is any guide, one can easily recall that Pakistan inherited copious water resources at the time of its creation. In 1947, the per capita availability of water was 5,000 cubic metres but it has declined to merely 1,000 cubic metres in 2017 and is further expected to reach a dangerous level of 800 cubic metres soon, if pragmatic remedial measures are not taken at the earliest.

So, there is no blinking at the fact that the way forward cannot be chalked out for looming water crisis until problematic areas are appropriately addressed.

In the first place, being an agrarian country, Pakistan is mainly dependent on its agriculture to run its economy. However, the outmoded and antiquated techniques and methods of irrigation are one of the primary causes of wastage of water. Crops like rice, sugarcane and some others are known for extensive use of water. Given the acute shortage of water, Pakistan cannot afford to grow these crops. Instead, Pakistan must go for those crops which require less water so as to save this depleting yet precious natural resource.

There are numerous water-scarce states that have faced the same dilemma. Most of them have overcome this problem by improving their water management through the installation of sprinkler and drip irrigation systems. But, Pakistan still uses the method of flooding the crops. It causes nearly 40 percent loss of water.

Secondly, Pakistan is dependent on water entirely from a single source; the Indus Basin. The Indian manoeuvrings to build hydroelectric power projects at Sawalkot on river Chenab and constructing a number of other dams including Baglihar, Kishanganga and Rattle on rivers the waters of which belong to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty.

Read More: Water Crisis in Pakistan

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