Pakistan is among the most distressed category of water scarce countries in the world.The per capita availability of water has reduced to an alarming level of less than 1,000 cubic feet. Water is the vehicle that powers our agriculture sector it contributes about 21.4% of the GDP to our economy and hires almost 40% of the workforce in it. Have we ever imagined the spectre of a looming water shortage and crisis being predicted in a decade’s time by experts? Has our government ever realized what it would mean for our economy; for our very livelihood and what catastrophe can it have? I doubt any kind of policy has been worked out by our present government or the ones gone previously. A campaign is being run by the Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaaf (PTI) and seminars being held in different cities to highlight this issue.
Water should be treated as an economic good which should be taxed. Its price linked to amount of usage and consumption. According to the report released by the Asian Development Bank in 2013; Pakistan’s storage capacity in case of an emergency is limited to a 30 day supply far below the recommended 1,000 days for countries with similar climates. With a massive increase in population; the usage of water is also exponentially increasing but nothing is being done to address the chronic shortage of water that is supposed to hit us in the next decade or so. It is a dwindling resource; population growth is exacerbating the issue of water shortage in the country. Global warming is causing a change in climate patterns ; which has resulted in a lessening of melting of glaciers; reducing water flow as a result; lack of dams for storing rain water, boring and drilling of land for irrigation purposes. The discharge of water from untreated industrial and domestic waste is the cause of the supplies getting contaminated and the mixing of sewerage and water pipelines worsens it.
The promotion of awareness campaigns to not waste water need to be initiated from the ground up. Efficient usage of water needs to be envisaged; the usage of tube wells all day long needs to be reduced and divided into fixed intervals. Big reservoirs or water tanks need to be installed by WASA , and water appropriately discharged to the localities for usage in their homes. Boring of land in homes needs to be banned altogether; the individual doing it should be heavily penalized and reprimanded. Efficient usage of water needs to be promoted ; filtration plants need to be installed at the premises where water tankers exist to avoid contamination. All localities in the cities should be checked by taking samples of water to test out for contamination purposes every few months. The price of water being used should be exorbitantly increased; to make people realize that water is a national asset. Strict penalties need to be slapped for wasting water example is the watering of roads and gardens in their homes. Inspection teams need to be deployed for this very purpose to check whether water is being stolen or not by any individual or institution.
Pakistan needs to envision a future where water will be in scarce quantity as stated by many experts. Steps need to be initiated at Federal and Provincial level to prevent water wastage and create methods to avert this crisis on a war footing. It threatens our nation’s very existence; its present and future are massively dependent on it.
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