‘Water pollution can unleash disaster, break backbone of economy’

Speakers attribute water scarcity to mismanagement, bad governance
Zubair Qureshi

Water experts, climatologists, specialists, government representative and students in large number on Thursday voiced their concerns over emerging threat of water scarcity and called upon the government and the private sector to work in that direction on war footing.
This they said during a seminar on “Water Security and Emerging Threats in Pakistan” organized by the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) arranged a Seminar.
The guest speakers included former Chairman WAPDA, Shamsul Mulk, Chairman Gomal Damaan Area Water Partnership, Brigadier (R) Muhammad Aslam Khan, Vice President CGSS, Mr. Babur Suhail, Member Advisory Board CGSS Khalid Rahim, and Chairman-Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Muhammad Ashraf. Chairman CGSS Lt Gen (R) Zahirul Islam in his opening remarks stated that water was once our biggest asset, the blood to the agricultural backbone of our economy, now it is our biggest threats.
Our dams remain empty, and there is less and less clean water to drink each year, said Zahirul Islam. “This shows the amount of mismanagement and ignorance we show to this vital commodity. The biggest threat to our water security is our neighbouring India,” he said adding that mismanagement and bad border relations are not the only reasons for water scarcity, the fact is population explosion and both countries have entered a struggle to attain the bigger portion of natural water reserves.
Shamsul Mulk presented his paper on “Political, Economic and Social Issues faced by Pakistan in Securing Water Resources”. He enlightened the participants regarding the importance of water resources management in Pakistan. He stated that proper management was mandatory. Most important issue, however was pollution to water sources. Real models of sustainable water resources management are still in need. He also talked about the loopholes in the bureaucracy which is hampering the implementation of various projects and the need for reforms. Furthermore, he underlined the economic consequences of delaying the projects and its ultimate burden on the Pakistani economy.
Brigadier (R) Aslam spoke on “Realistic Appraisal of Indus water Treaty”. He stated that there was a strong perception of Indian wrongdoing with the water situation in Pakistan. He explained in detail the basic principles of Indus Water Treaty. He stated that Indian Kishanganga hydel project could interfere with Neelum–Jhelum Power Plant. India as an upper riparian is not doing responsible water shed management. As per Indian view, they are using less than their irrigation entitlement and Pakistan is getting more water due to their inability to use the water entitled. He stated that India may be able to use water as a weapon of war.

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