Water Crisis in Pakistan


Pakistan is one of the 30 countries in the world, facing an acute water deficiency, which is likely to aggravate during the forthcoming decades. More than 80% of Pakistan lies in the arid and semi-arid zones, characterized by highly erratic, unpredictable, and low precipitation, excessive evapotranspiration and high summer temperatures. Coupled with uneven river flow, the climatic vagrancy has placed Pakistan in a critical water supply environment. Presently Pakistan is going worst drought and water crisis of its history which is likely to persist for a few years. Pakistan’s water issues are due to ineffective management. Unequal access and distribution, growing population, urbanization, progressive industrialization, lack of storage capacity and climate risk make water management a difficult task. Climate change has been causing shifts in the weather pattern in different parts of the country, which requires area-specific solutions, not a generic policy. Since the 1980s, domestic water supply and irrigation management have become more participatory and privatized with a focus on physical targets rather than on capacity building. This has benefited the economic and political elite and has deprived poor farmers of their due access to irrigated water. Pakistan can only store 10 percent of the average annual flow of its rivers, which is far below the world average storage capacity of 40 percent. Pakistan had been water-abundant in the past (almost 6000 cubic meters per capita in 1960), but now has become a water-stressed country with 1017 cubic meters per capita. Our nation is currently experiencing severe water scarcity. Therefore, the current demands include the construction of larger reservoirs and a successful management plan. The country will be able to address the challenges and accomplish the goals of integrated, effective, environmentally and financially sustainable development and management of limited water resources by putting the recommendations into practice. It will also make it possible for us to use every last drop of water for a bright future.

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