Pakistan water summit
Posted by Javed Iqbal Belharvi
“The ruins of Harappa, a vibrant urban centre during the days of the Indus Valley Civilization, lies in a world that seems to have forgotten lessons from history. Archaeological research shows the city was devastated as result of climate change- water supply dwindled till the city became unsustainable.” This was stated by DRR UN RC- Office Senior Advisor Rob Duys.
The Planning Commission, in collaboration with Ministry of Water and Power, is organizing Pakistan Water Summit on 20 March,14, in order to develop country\’s first National Water Policy for proactive development and management of the country\’s water resources.Water is an undeniable, un-sustainable and powerful factor in everyone\’s life, from sustaining individual lives to defining both economic and social policies and practices. As populations and demand expand while supplies decline, access to water will become increasingly difficult, raising the prospects for conflict over this precious resource. Pakistan is basically an agriculture country. The water flowing in the channels to the crops is its blood line and if there is no or less water then we should be prepared for facing problems economically as well as socially. The sustainability of the irrigation and agriculture systems of Pakistan has mostly remained dependent on the river flows. Unfortunately as we all know that now a days our country is facing severe shortage of water. There are two main reasons, one natural due to prolong drought, and the other due to the gross negligence in the development and mismanagement of water resources.
Science and empirical evidence make clear that existing water scarcity, when combined with the impact of climatic change, could place critical stress on the economy and society of Pakistan, resulting major food shortages, increased frequency of natural disasters, large scale dislocations of Population and destabilizing contention between upper and lower riparian regions. Lack of any definitive water policy by successive governments has exposed serious shortcomings in Pakistan\’s water shortage and antiquated irrigation system. The immediate water crisis in Pakistan is severe and experts maintain that the long-term forecast is even bleaker. With the prevailing consumption rates and a Population growth, one out of three people in Pakistan will face critical shortage of water, threatening their very survival. From a water affluent country, Pakistan has moved to a situation where it will not be able to meet its growing requirements for water in 2025.
The pace of population growth in Pakistan is such that there will be need for large investment in the water sector simply to maintain current levels. The economy and therefore security of Pakistan is directly linked and dependent upon the development and sound management of water resources. The water sector needs major investment on sustained basis, lack of which can spell a doom\’s day scenario for Pakistan.
The ruling government of PML(N) which is already confronted with number of serious challenges like terrorism, energy crisis, law and order, corruption etc has to tackle the water crisis issue due to its major implications for Pakistan\’s economy and society on priority.
Effective management of this crisis first requires urgent mitigation and adaptation measures with close cooperation amongst Pakistan\’s provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh on the one hand and then between Pakistan and India on the other . Holding Pakistan Water Summit to devise country\’s first water policy is indicative of Government awareness of the issue.
Besides, the onus of the management of water crisis does not lies only on the government, the whole society has to change its habits to save the wastage of water. We can adopt methods and habits to use less water for achieving the same results.(Abdullah Shah)