Water crisis: A daunting challenge | BY Usama Mughal

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Water crisis: A daunting challenge

PAKISTAN is, unfortunately, reeling under a water deficit, which might be a huge catastrophe for the country down the road.

As per statistics, Pakistan’s per capita annual water availability has significantly diminished from 1,500 cubic metres to 1,017 cubic metres.

The country is heading towards surpassing the scarcity threshold and with the current rate of depletion it will soon reach the perilous level.

One of the most biggest and outstanding problems being encountered by Pakistan is water stress and Pakistan is expected and slated to become the most water-stressed country in “South Asia” in the next two decades.

In addition, Pakistan ranks third amongst countries tackling water scarcity exceedingly. Approximately over 30 million people lack access to potable water.

All that being said, we have yet to see the government take this matter seriously.

Significant growth in population, urbanisation, industrialisation, paucity of storage capacity, severe climate change have all lead to absurd and ineffective aquatic resources management.

Nearly 97% of the fresh water is used by the agricultural area, for it makes up 24% of the GDP.

Unsound and poor agricultural choices, flood irrigation, the absence of hybrid seed production, inadequate and poor water management have put a crushing and substantial burden on water resources.

Water management is encumbered with heaps of issues such as the non-existence of an effective and stable system to halt exceeding evaporation and pilferage and a lack of basin-wise water drainage resource management.

Also, almost 13% of the arable area/land in Pakistan is brackish and 30% of the agricultural land is waterlogged.

As per high-level experts, water consumption is a huge problem in Pakistan that could lead to world war III anytime.

Thence, people must be gingerly wary of the fatal risk of acute water shortage and the need to conserve.

Rather than heaping blame on the past set-up, the de facto regime must mull over the issue in an effective and earnest manner and strategize cost-effective measures to be sorted out the convoluted crisis.

Managing water resources be re-examined to the core to have management better by accumulating data.

This process will give a significant dividend and it will help de-escalate monumental losses and ameliorate sowing.

Evaluation at regular intervals be carried out on the inflow and outflow of water in all the provinces.

In order to tackle the baleful menace of it, the emerging/looming water crisis must be included in the wider public discourse including schools, universities, colleges and academies, or else we will be beset with grave challenges soon— of whose repercussions can have sinister.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Kandhkot, Sindh.