Water Scarcity


Pakistan may run dry by 2025 as its water shortage is reaching an alarming level. No person in Pakistan, whether from the north with its more than 5,000 glaciers, or from the south with its hyper deserts, will be immune to this scarcity. Pakistan is at risk of water scarcity and is among the 36 most water-stressed countries in the world.

This is an alarming indicator of falling into the category of water-stressed countries with continuation of the trend ultimately leading to water scarcity. Pakistan is seventh in the list of ten countries which have been badly affected by the climate change. The remedy to mitigate the impact of climate change undoubtedly lies in planting more and more trees. About 6 to 10 degree centigrade temperature can be reduced in different parts of the country by planting trees following the international concept of urban forestry. In this connection, accelerated efforts are required to address the climate change through various steps including tree plantation, ban on plastic bags and use of renewable energy.

Researchers predict that Pakistan is on its way to becoming the most water-stressed country in the region by the year 2040. It is not the first time that development and research organizations have alerted Pakistani authorities about an impending crisis, which some analysts say poses a bigger threat to the country than terrorism. Pakistan has the world’s fourth-highest rate of water use. Its water intensity rate the amount of water, in cubic meters, used per unit of GDP is the world’s highest. This suggests that no country’s economy is more water-intensive than Pakistan’s.

Pakistan’s per capita annual water availability is 1,017 cubic meters perilously close to the scarcity threshold of 1,000 cubic meters. Back in 2009, Pakistan’s water availability was about 1,500 cubic meters. The bulk of Pakistan’s farmland is irrigated through a canal system, but the IMF says in a report that canal water is vastly underpriced, recovering only a quarter of annual operating and maintenance costs. Meanwhile, agriculture, which consumes almost all annual available surface water, is largely untaxed. Experts say that population growth and urbanization are the main reasons behind the crisis. The issue has also been exacerbated by climate change, poor water management and a lack of political will to deal with the crisis.


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