DURING a visit to Mohmand Dam site on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that ten dams – the construction of which was started during the tenure of his government- would be completed by 2028.
Their completion will not only enhance the water storage capacity and help irrigate more land but also provide the cheapest, cleanest and indigenous form of energy.
Unfortunately, successive governments shied away from constructing the big water reservoirs mainly because of financial factors and political differences.
It is however heartening to see the focus of the present government on the construction of dams and one expects that these will be completed within the stipulated period keeping in view the water shortage faced by the country.
It is anticipated that by 2025, Pakistan will face a water shortage of 31 million acre feet of water, or roughly about a third of the water used for irrigated agriculture in the country each year.
This is especially significant, as irrigated agriculture accounts for 95pc of Pakistan’s water resources and employs38.5pc of its workforce.
In the next 30 years, climate change is anticipated to increase Pakistan’s demands for water between5 to 15pc.
On top of this, the explosive growth of our population and inefficient use of available water resources our water woes are likely to worsen.
This situation warrants that new water reservoirs including small and big ones are constructed and these projects should be funded on a priority basis as it is the matter of life and death for us. Our food security also depends on it.
In conjunction with building dams, the authorities concerned should also focus on improving the efficiency of water usage through measures such as reducing seepage by lining canals, regulating drilling for groundwater wells and treating and reusing waste water.
It also should consider solutions such as Managed Aquifer Recharge in order to capture flood waters during the monsoon season and replenish ground water resources.
Adding these measures will make Pakistan more resilient to reduction in water resources.