ISLAMABAD - Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s Regional Standing Committee Chairman Ahmad Jawad has stressed the need for adopting a serious strategy for building water reservoirs in the country in order to meet agriculture needs.

Talking to newsmen on Saturday, he said the mismanagement of water would  have its biggest impact on Pakistan’s agricultural sector.  According to the World Bank, 43% of Pakistan’s employment is in the agricultural sector (WDI 2014).

“This prosperous industry relies on the single largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. While this is an impressive feat, Pakistan also fosters one of the lowest crop yields per unit of water in the world,” he said, and added, “This is alarming because Pakistan uses a big chunk of its water resources on its agriculture.”

“The looming threat of water scarcity is an issue that is rarely talked about, and constitutes one of the biggest challenges,” he said.

He said with a projected population of 263 million in the year 2050, Pakistan needs to seriously think how it will provide adequate water for agriculture, industry and human consumption in the face of rapidly dwindling reserves. FPCCI Standing Committee Chairman also mentioned that Pakistan’s water issues were multi-dimensional.

He said there was no single, all-encompassing problem, but instead multiple, inter-related problems and Pakistan needed to completely rethink its entire approach towards its water resources.

Jawad appreciated the government’s initiatives for building dams, but asserted that it needed to be done at a fast pace. He concluded by saying that “poverty will also reduce if we introduce agriculture in non-settled areas.”