ISLAMABAD (APP) - The government should accelerate its efforts for constructing new water reservoirs and dams on emergent basis to cope with the looming water crisis which could put heavy brakes on economic growth. Water shortage issue has not been given the level of attention it needed and if appropriate steps were not taken, country could face a water and food crisis, Mahfooz Elahi, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), said in a statement issued here on Tuesday. He said that apart from human consumption and agriculture, water was also essential for power generation. Elaborating the point, he said that Pakistan has the potential to generate as much as 50,000MW of hydroelectric power, more than twice its total current generating capacity of about 20,000 MW from all sources. The ICCI President was of the view that high power tariff, a burden on businesses and consumers, could be reduced by utilizing the available water resources more efficiently as the water is the most viable and cheapest way to produce electricity. He said that Pakistan's electricity demand was increasing by 7 percent annually and allocation of Rs.18 billion in budget 2011-12 for new dams and water reservoirs was insufficient. Construction of new water reservoirs and dams assumes additional significance to overcome the rising water shortages problem, he added. Pakistan is blessed with abandoned water resources, with water flowing down the Himalayas and Karakorum heights, from the world's largest glaciers which started melting in summers and results in floods. Therefore, the government should construct water reservoirs to save water being wasted, he maintained. Mahfooz Elahi said that 60 percent of rain comes during the monsoon season but due to unavailability of water reservoirs, this huge flow of water could not be saved. ICCI President said that the per capita availability of water in Pakistan was gradually dwindling and our country was fast moving from being a water stressed country to a water scarce country. Thus there was a dire need to safe enough water by adopting latest technology which makes better and efficient use of water resources, he emphasized.