Water crisis is emerging one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan now a days. Pakistan’s water resources are running dry at alarming rate. Current extreme water shortage warnings have attracted nation’s attention. The annual water availability that was nearly 1,300 cubic metres per capita, has fallen to 1000 cubic meters leaving Pakistan to the category of highly water stressed nations in the globe. The matter of serious concern is that IMF has also placed Pakistan on third position in the context of water crisis . In addition, study suggests that currently, Pakistan is water stressed country but if the suitable action is not undertaken for preserving and saving water, it will turn water scarce by 2025. Undeniably, these prospects and predictions could become the bitter truth very soon if government doesn’t put water management policy at top of its agendas and if sustainable and economical use of water doesn’t become top of our priorities. 

There is no denying the fact that our country’s water crisis has exacerbated these days than before. Pakistan is witnessing looming water crisis , on the one hand, there is extreme irrigation water scarcity due to which the productivity and fertilization of agriculture and food security of motherland are being badly affected. It is believed that Pakistan is one of the major food producing and land copious countries in the world. The tragic truth is that current drought- like condition has reduced the food and agricultural yields and outputs of crops. 

On the other, there is an acute drinking water scarcity which has made lives of the people miserable. In major cities of Pakistan underground water is salty, thus not drinkable. Hence, People walk long distances in the search of water in many parts of the country. Approximately, more than 27 million Pakistanis lack access to potable water and almost 70pc water in the homeland is unfit for human consumption. Therefore, common people are drinking that contaminated water because they have no way out other than consuming harmful water. According to Hassan Foundation, almost, 250,000 children under the age of five die every year of waterborne disease, costing economy around $ 1.3 billions. Whereas, four-fifths of all diseases Pakistanis suffer from, such as cholera, diarroea, typhoid and hepatitis, are caused by contaminated and untreated water. 

The major reasons for this serious water scarcity can be attributed to poor water resource management, water wastage and lack of effective water conservation policy, low budget allocation and dearth of reservoirs and storage dams. No doubt, Pakistan has miserably failed in showing progressive approach towards water management. Huge chunk of water is wasted in Pakistan and less than 0.2 percent of GDP is allocated for water and sanitation. Besides, since 1960s, new dams have not been built despite the fact that our dams can store water for 30 days only. Likewise, bourgeoning population, rapid urbanization and growing demand of water in agricultural and industrial sector have jointly made the water a dwindling resource. Additionally, devastating effects of climate change are also highly responsible for drought like situation in major Parts of the country. According to 2017 Climate Change Index, Pakistan is one of the most affected and vulnerable countries to climate change, ranking on 7th number out of 10 climate prrior nations of Asia. Meanwhile, erractic weather and rainfall patterns, glacial melting, global warming and droughts have further aggravated the situation in Pakistan. 

Undeniably, water is increasingly essential for the sustenance of human life; people’s livelihoods, food security and socio-economic stability of our country as well. Whereas, Pakistan is agricultural country. Around 42 percent workforce in rural areas work in agricultural fields. Agriculture significantly contributes in Pakistan’s exports, GDP, per capita income and social and economic progress. Almost 21 percent of GDP and 70 percent exports are created from it like cotton, wheat, rice etc. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to say that water is lifeline for Pakistan. Without that socio-economic advancement cannot be attained. 

So, lets work in tandem to fix this pressing problem stabilize our country at all fronts. Water crisis is getting worse from bad day by day. That is why immediate and special attention must be drawn to water management on government side. The government should chalk out the best possible plannings for building more water reservoirs and storage dams in the country as they will go long way towards resolving this pressing problem. Furthermore, there is the dire need to formulate an effective water resource management and conservation agenda, a uniform water distribution policy and an efficient plan for controlling water wastage. Moreover, state must invest in climate change mitigation and adaption strategies to save the country from its miserable impacts. Apart from this the state need to ensure that every citizen has smooth access to clean and drinkable water. The only way to tackle this alarming water crisis is to take urgent and strategic action in this very direction. Otherwise, it will be too late to act when the country’s water resources would go dry and there will be no drop to drink! 

ASSAD ALI BALOCH,  

Dadu, September 2.