Water Crisis: The Writing on the Wall

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Pakistan stands at one of the worst affected country of global warming, despite insignificant contribution to Green house gases emission. According to Met statistics, the January 2021 was one of the driest months during last 60 years. The most lethal impact of uncertain weather patterns are crystallizing into water crisis. The case study of Karachi illustrates that mélange of climate change, broken infrastructure, prevalence of mafias and other bottlenecks have rendered the country most vulnerable in terms of water security. As taps and ground pumps are running dry, reliance upon tankers is new normal in Karachi. Raising further stakes, the Met office warned that Pakistan will become water scarce by 2025. The per person annual availability of water is 1,017 cubic meters, the country is fast closing in at 1,000 cubic meters, which illustrates that country is at brink of severe water crisis.

Although, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), a government agency that carries out water research, had asserted that the country crossed the ‘water scarcity line’ way back in 2005 after having crossed the ‘water stress line’ in 1990. According to a 2015 IMF report, the demand for water is on the rise and is projected to reach 274 million acre-feet (MAF) by 2025, while supply is expected to remain stagnant at 191 MAF, resulting in a demand-supply gap of approximately 83 MAF. Myriad factors contributed to present situation such as unchecked use of ground water table, reliance of old irrigation methods, aforestation, callous domestic and industrial consumption. Water crisis possess immense potential to sabotage domestic orders by food crisis, mass displacements, unemployment and even civil war. It`s high time to craft and implement National Water Policy for effective stewardship of existing water resources. There is dearth of innovative ways to revolutionize water sector and thus role of private sector is very important in this regard. Pakistan needs robust commitment to usher water governance roadmap by employing scientific knowledge, infrastructure investments and research.

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