Large, small water storages needed to face Climate Change challenge: Sartaj Aziz

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ISLAMABAD : “The best way to meet the challenge of Climate Change is to build as many large and small water storages as possible” said Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission while chairing a conference on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Development and Businesses in Islamabad Tuesday.

“In years of floods the dams store surplus water and reduces the impact of floods whereas in years of droughts the stored water can mitigate the effects of low rainfall,” he added.

Sartaj Aziz said it is unfortunate that the construction of water storage dams has become so controversial. But the challenge of climate change so serious that it should persuade the political leadership to achieve a consensus on water storages not only for sustainable development but for the very survival of the country.

Addressing to the 4th international water conference at the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), he said that according to the recent census Pakistan’s population growth rate is 2.4%. In the 11th Five Year Plan (2013-2018) the planning commission estimates for food security, health and education was based on forecast of 2% population growth rate. This new estimate is a cause for serious concern.

At the time of partition per capita water availability in Pakistan was 5000 cubic meters which has now declined to 1000 cubic meters per capita that classifies Pakistan as a water scarce country. The projected population on the basis of 2.4% will further jeopardize Pakistan’s water security unless we conserve the available water by growing less water intensive crops, treating effluence before discharge and giving up lifestyle and habits that waste water.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission said Vision 2025 attaches high importance to climate change and water security. Pillar IV of the document, covering energy, water and food security envisages access to an adequate supply of water for all and requires policies to correct the demand and supply imbalances with sharp focus on both sides of the equation.

Sartaj Aziz expressed the hope that the recommendations emerging from this conference will be useful in formulating policies and recommendations for water security in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Orignally published by NNI

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