Water Crisis in Pakistan

“Water is precious, use it wisely” says a notice placed in the bathroom of a five star hotel. There could not be a sounder piece of advice but it should be given not only to the guests of the five star hotels but also to the entire citizenry of Pakistan. Pakistan is rapidly moving to the situation when it will begin to be ranked among the countries that have severe shortages of fresh water. Wise use of this precious resource is one way of dealing with this crisis.

Man is a pre-eminently an animal good at gadgets. Man uses water much in the same way as other animals; he has to drink it constantly, washes in it frequently, and drowns in it occasionally – probably oftener than other terrestrial vertebrates. Without water, he dies as miserably as any other beast and with too much of it, as in floods, he is equally unable to cope. However, he excels other animals in that he has learned to utilize waterpower.
There are three basic uses of water in the modern civilization– agriculture, industry and human consumption. Using water wisely in these three uses is one way of saving the country from economic and social disaster.

Water is one of the most important natural resource and the major driving force for the economy of Pakistan. Only a few decades ago, Pakistan was considered to have abundance of good quality water. Now, however, in many other area of the world, population growth, economic development, rapid urbanization and industrialization, are applying continuous pressure on the already limited water resources of Pakistan.

Pakistan is now towards a serious shortage of water. In 1951, per capita surface water availability for irrigation was estimated at 5650 cubic metres; this declined sharply to only 1350 cubic metres per head in 2002. The minimum amount that should be available is 1000 cubic metres. 2012, Pakistan will have reached the stage of “acute water shortage”.

 CURRENT SITUATION IN PAKISTAN:

 WORLD BANK REPORT:
• Pakistan has exhausted its current water capability and needs to take immediate measure to sustain its water-driven economy.
• Pakistan only stores 30 days of river water. India stores 120 to 220 days, Colorado River in the US stores 900 days.
• Pakistan’s per capita water storage is just 150 cubic meters while that of China is 2200, Australia 5000 and the US is 5000.
Pakistan’s economy can only be propelled into future only through building new water projects and canals.

WATER VISION 2016:

President Musharraf said, “Water and energy are matters of life and death for us. We have to build all dams. We have lagged far behind and have to work at a fast pace to catch up with the rest of the world.”

We are facing an existing water shortage by 9 million-acre feet and by 2020 this short fall will be up to 20 maf. Constructing two to three dams is inevitable for us by the year 2020. By building mega water reservoirs our canals will become perennial and no longer be seasonal. New reservoirs will generate 10000 mw of power, which would certainly bring down the rate of electricity. One dam will bring an additional 2 maf of water to Sindh, two dams will fetch 4 maf and another dam will bring water equal to storage capacity of Mangla Dam.

Apart from Diamer-Bhasha and Kalabagh, the water vision envisages construction of Akori, Munda and Kuram Tungi Dams by the year 2016.

 NEED FOR THE DAMS:

Tariq Hameed, Chairman Wapda says,“Pakistan is fortunate that nature has bestowed it with abundant water reservoirs. It is now up to us to harness these resources for the economic development and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.”

1) Presently, out of total cultivable land of 77.1 million acres, we are only cultivating 54.5 million acres because of shortage of water.
2) With the increase in population, Pakistan will have a shortfall of 11 million tons of major food grains by 2010 and 16 million tons by 2020. This food grain deficit will increase to 28 million tons by 2025.
3) High power tariff burdening consumers can be reduced by correcting hydel-thermal generation ratio of 30-70, which used to be the opposite in 1970.
4) Only 14 % of Pakistan’s total hydropower potential of 50,000 mw being tapped at present.
5) Average hydel generation unit cost for new projects is Rs. 1.00/KWH against Rs. 7.00/KWH for new oil based thermal generation.
6) Pakistan’s electricity demand and increasing by 7 % per annum.
7) Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy; 23.3 % of GDP.
8) 64 % Pakistanis depend on agriculture.
9) 60-70 % of exports depend on it.

10) Pakistan today is among one of the world’s fastest growing populations now estimated at over 150 million. Due to the lack of large river regulation capability through sizable storages, the country is facing serious shortages in food grains. Given the present trend, Pakistan could soon become one of the food deficit countries in the near future. Therefore, there is a dire need to build storages for augmenting agriculture production. Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs have already lost about 5 maf due to sedimentation. It is estimated that by the year 2012, this loss would increase to the original combined capacity of Mangla and Chashma reservoirs.

11) Industrial expansion and growth essential for economic development and prosperity.
12) It will provide the better clean environment for the human beings.
13) Reduction in barren lands.
14) To control flooding and manage rivers.
15) The completion by India of Wuller, Buglihar and Krishenganga, Uri-11 Pakaldul and Burser projects on the western rivers of Indus, Jehlum and Chenab to which Pakistan has the exclusive right according to the 1960 Indus Basin Water Treaty, will also create serious water shortage.

NEED FOR RESERVOIRS:
1) Hydropower Generation

High power tariff, which is a burden on consumer, can be reduced by correcting hydel thermal generation ratio of 30-70, which used to be the opposite in 1970. Only 40% of Pakistan’s total hydro power potential of 50000MW is being tapped at present. Average hydel generation cost for new projects is Rs 1.007/Kwh as against Rs 7/Kwh for new oil base thermal generation. Pakistan’s electricity demands are increasing by 7% per annum.

Saving import of fuel for thermal power plants reduce cost of electrically i.e. Rs1/Kwh. Electrification of industries of towns and villages. Reduces cost of electricity help manufacturers.

2) Agriculture
Agriculture forms the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. 23.3% of GDP, 64% Pakistanis depend directly on agriculture. 60-70% exports depend on it. Water is a life line for agriculture. Average rainfall of Pakistan is below Avg. Thus, water storage is needed for agriculture as it is a precious resource and we should not waste a drop of it.

Out of Pakistan total geographical area only 17.1Macre is suitable for agriculture. A total of 44.4Macres of agriculture land is irrigated besides only 10Macres Barani land under cultivation. If water is available the remaining 22.6Macres of land(29% of total suitable area for agriculture) can turn productive if no additional water is tapped. It means that 1/3 of agriculture potential will remain untapped.

3) Industry
4) Drinking Water And Sanitation

Pakistan’s population is increasing by over 2% per year requiring availability of more clean drinking water. Cities, towns, Villages expanding requiring more water for sanitation purposes.
Implementation of clean drinking water schemes possible with availability of more water.

5) Environment

Better clean environment for humans. Reduction in barren land. Controlled rivers and canals.
More land area under cultivation, greenery and habitation to improve better water management and cleanliness. More forests and eco system preservation and flood control.

 

 

Water Issue and Our National Impasse

Out of 75% of total water on earth, there is only 3% of pure water present. Of that 3% Fresh Water, 70% is locked in glaciers, 29% is found underground in aquifers and 1% is found in lakes, rivers, & streams

Looking into the increasing world population and careless use of pure water in different areas of the world which puts further check on the future of human lives, Scientists have already predicted horrible stats about the near future of world related to water scarcity and developing world regions will be the primary target of water issues. Pakistan lies in the region of developing states and it faced severe water crises in last two to three decades. The shameful part of the journey is that despite the fact that immense negative effect of water crises in Pakistan, counting from economy up to the lower level of individual lives, everything remains under short of the target. Country agriculture sector which is known as the backbone of our economy. It offers almost 40% of national employments but it is declining due to seriousness in the crises of water in the whole country. Moreover, according to the Pakistan’s economic survey, Agricultural contribution in the overall economic muscles remain to contain up to less the 19% and cost 0.5 percent negative decline in the budget.

No doubt the current time has proven bitter for many development states in to cope with water crises but Pakistan has God gifted natural resources from every perspective. If we look into the overall water resources which Pakistan have, anybody can clearly assume that where the fault lies.

Globally there is 3395 MAF of water present.Whole Asian region has 5900 MAF water Pakistan shares it 145 MAF in the south Asian region.

In a whole year, only 20% of water remains available for use from 15 June up to 15 September and after this period the remaining water flow in the foam of floods which causes the destruction of the canal system in the whole country. 80% of water is getting wasted every year due to lack of reserving capacity. Out of total reserved water, agricultural sector consumes up to 90% water of the system and reaming percent of water get distribute among domestic and industrial sectors. System loss is also one of the major flaws in order to reserve enough water. Evaporation process of water add further resistance to the overall water reserving capacity Distribution of water among provinces also remains an issue of attention but Government established Haleem commission in 1991 which solved the reservation of provinces over water distribution.

According to the commission respective percentage of water been allotted to provinces and it was a successful accord in order to solve the contempt of provinces against one another.

Punjab 55%, Sindh 48.76% KPK 8.7% Baluchistan 3.8% (ISRA)

 Currency of the issue

The country is facing the burden of economic down fall. Textile agricultural sectors are completely out capacity in order to perfume on standard bases. Major investing groups are approaching for the alternative to shifting their capital abroad anywhere. In short past time, Bangladesh proved to be the better alternative option for the textile sector from Pakistan. There is a lack of water reservoirs and Pakistan has not enough capacity to reserve water for more than 20 days, unlike India which is increasing its water reserving capacity day by day and currently India have the capacity to reserve water for more than 120 days.

The government should have to focus on the construction of small and middle level of water reservoirs in the whole country. It’s much needed to increase the capacity of river water storage from 10 % up to 20 or 25% in the future.

World Bank Report on Water and Power Resources of West Pakistan by Peter Lieftinck (1969)

“Pakistan should be building at least one reservoir for storage of about 6 MAF of water every decade in the foreseeable future.’’

Canal water is short due to increasing cropping intensity (130% in 1988 to 175% at present). Agricultural downfall is also alarming for the future requirement of food in the country. Up till now, the government has not come with any alternative policies in order to change the mood of cultivation and do some experiment to cultivate different crops which can be suitable for seasonal conditions and consume less water. Israel has banned the cultivation of potato because it consumes more water to grow. Same as Pakistan can come up with the different alternative option to lessen the waste of water and save more.

Way forward

Since water issue is becoming a bottle neck for our national security. There is need to compromise on the ethical and provincial contempt and join the collective struggle to find out the solution of our national issues there water is one of the major and it yields further problems. There is enough water present under the ground. Tube well and home underground well water system should be formulated for the means to overcome water crises in backward areas of the country. There should be proper treatment of water pipeline to avoid waste of water through the system.

Furthermore, it’s very must to create awareness in public that how water is important for their lives and how it means to their future because without creating the culture of water saving among the general public, it fails to struggle to implement any policy and get desired result. The active participating of the public can support government planning process to avoid growing question to our national origin due to water crises.

A Committee of Chief Ministers under Council of Common Interests (CCI) to deal with water issues especially construction of new water storages

  • Rationalization of water pricing
  • Regulation of sub-soil water extraction
  • Canal lining
  • Action plan for the treatment of effluent generated by industry, agriculture & municipal use
  • Strengthening IRSA
  • Adoption of latest technologies in consultation with Provinces to bring transparency and access to all on water issues

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Access to Clean Drinking Water is Still a Dream

The looming threat of clean drinking water scarcity constitutes one of the biggest challenges to Pakistan’s survival. This threat is not less dangerous than that of terrorism because it has been taking millions of lives, especially those of children, every year. Water is the most important and basic necessity for human life. Without water, life can’t exist.

water is becoming a short-commodity all over the world. In some regions, even water is more costly than milk.This problem, in Pakistan, is proliferating with a storming speed. Unhygienic practices coupled with impure water usage cause a number of diseases.

A vast area of Pakistan, are lacking potable water due to industrial wastage and agricultural remnant that impurities the rivers and the rivers and the ground water. People of these areas, sometimes, are compelled to cover a distance of tens of miles for a few liters of illy-potable water.

Water-related problems are the most neglected sector in Pakistan. A vast majority of Pakistani-particularly the rural-do does not believe in any disease borne by water due to the mixing of arsenic or other elements. And a patient who does not believe in her disease, cannot be cured because he would not attend any doctor. The people of rural areas of Sindh and Punjab are ready to drink the groundwater extracted through tube wells, nulls, and motor-pumps because are of the view that running water is free of all impurities.

Illiteracy, coupled with the lack of political will and corruption, is equally responsible for the potable water problems. This issue has curtailed the economic growth also. Wastage of time in collecting drinkable water from remote areas, let woman away from their kids and family and keeps them out of household givings which result in a poor family. Similarly, the girls and children who served their time in bringing drinkable water keep them away from educational activities which create illiterate generations-a major hurdle in the way of economic race.

Water and sanitation

Access to clean water and sanitation has been a very big challenge in the globe. Many people in the globe have limited access to the clean drinking water and sanitation.According to the research report , only 1.5 % of home birth in developing countries involve safe water , poor sanitation, and hygiene. Only 4 million people in 9 countries have safe clean water and sanitation for generations. Clean water and good sanitation system are possible when every person performs their role in the environment. A few years ago the water and sanitation system were not good but now it is a little bit improved. By the use of latest technology, the cleanliness of water is possible by using filtration plants.We should use filtered plants in our homes, schools, road, colleges and everywhere. Dirty water can cause many diseases like fever, stomach problems, and many other diseases. According to a survey, one child dies every single minute from diarrheal disease caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation. There are more deaths than HIV/AIDS, MALARIA, and TUBERCHOLOROSIS. 

                    In Pakistan,  there are many countries in which there is limited access to clean drinking water.I have the heard the news on television that Karachi have a great problem of water.The clean water is not available to the people and there is also a poor sanitation system. So Karachi government should try to solve this problem because drinking clean water is the fundamental right of everyone. Approximately 90% of the water in developing countries is discharged directly into rivers, lakes, and seas. There is the tremendous economic gain that can be realized with improved drinking water and sanitation.