IN what could be called an important development to address one of the biggest sources of provincial discord, Punjab and Sindh have reportedly agreed to jointly measure water discharges and let each other conduct surprise visits to the barrages for checking inflows and outflows.
This breakthrough came during a Technical Committee meeting of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA).
During the meeting, both provinces agreed to open up their water ways to mutual inspection and surprise visits to verify each other’s data.
The Sindh province has always expressed its grievances over the distribution of water and its elected representatives have even gone to the extent of accusing Punjab of stealing its water with the connivance of IRSA.
In this backdrop, it is really welcoming that both the provinces have agreed to a mechanism which indeed will result in greater provincial amity and harmony.
It is however yet to be seen as to how the proposal is implemented, however its success will bring greater transparency in water governance and most importantly save the federation from frictions on water.
Having said so, it is important to pay special attention towards addressing the issue of water shortage.
Experts are warning Pakistan may face a severe water crisis if measures are not taken in a timely manner.
The per capita availability of water in the country is 1,100 million cubic metres per annum — which is dangerously low — while in Punjab one has to go to a depth of 600 feet to draw groundwater.
In the past, one had to go to a depth of 50 feet only. This would not have been the situation had we paid special attention to the water management and constructed big water reservoirs.
According to IRSA, Pakistan is facing about $29 billion in economic losses every year on account of unutilised flow of river waters into the sea due to limited water storage capacity.
Since it is the matter of future of the country, hence efforts must be accelerated to complete work on the ongoing dams besides new water reservoir projects must also be envisaged keeping in view the future requirements.
Apart from checking water losses, latest technology be used in different sectors, especially the agriculture to ensure better water management.