- Water Scarcity - a threat for Pakistan By Naveed Abbas Maitlo
Water Scarcity – a threat for Pakistan By Naveed Abbas Maitlo
One of the most strenuous tasks for Pakistan in the future is tackling water scarcity. Water is the driver of nature. It is the soul of a country’s economy. The world will become colourless without this priceless gift of nature. Even life of people and living things grossly hinges on the availability of water. However, the contemporary world is witnessing water becoming increasingly scarce. This poses a serious threat to the life and livelihoods of humans around the globe. Pakistan is also among those vulnerable states which fall in the bracket of water crisis. Many reports recently issued by leading organisations show that the future of this country appears rough and tough due to the water enigma. The reason is simple: its economy will collapse because it is an agrarian state. Consequently, Pakistan will be on the verge of destruction. Even today, the water issue has spawned a myriad of conundrums. These issues range from a weakening economy to crumbling democracy. Social polarization, religious extremism and dichotomy are directly or indirectly related to this problem. Needless to say, if Pakistan resolves this issue on an emergency basis; it will pace up our progress and prosperity. Unfortunately, previous governments have regrettably failed to cope with this issue. Ironically, after the construction of two major dams-Tarbela and Mangla in 1970, Pakistan is unable to construct other dams. This government also seems to follow suit the previous regimes. Shockingly enough, constant apathy and lacklustre will lead the country towards the abyss. It is time to wake up and resolve this issue seriously and sincerely. Otherwise unthinkable will become inevitable.
There are many causes of the water crisis. The first and foremost reason behind this tangled issue is the hegemonic attitude of India. Indian government and political elite have never embraced Pakistan’s independence by heart and soul.
They still desire to rule over this land of pure. They pursue their nefarious designs in different fashions. For example, in 1948, they withheld Pakistan’s share and blocked the rivers that flow towards Pakistan. They aimed at destabilising Pakistan at the nascent stage. Pakistan concluded the Indus Water Basin Treaty under compulsion in 1960. Under this treaty, Pakistan owns three western rivers and India three Eastern rivers. However, India has never followed rules and regulations of the treaty. It still violates it by the construction of its dams on Pakistani rivers. Thus, Indian ambitions have kicked off the water crisis in Pakistan. Doubtlessly, the Pakistani government is also uninterested in this matter.
Furthermore, the increased silting of dams is among the factors which triggered this water crisis. In short, our dams are now outdated. They are unable to store an adequate amount of water. Their silting can reach the point of no return. Reports suggest that Pakistan’s existing dams will not be able to utilize by the next decade. The reason is rapid silting. Hence, this adds fuel to fire. Pakistan can build smaller dams and reservoirs to take this issue. The mega projects and dams take a great stretch of time. The need of the hour is to build smaller dams in order to avoid imbalance. Policies can also be formulated for larger dams. This should be a long term policy to harness water resources. However, a short term policy should go hand in hand with that one. In this way, a balance will be created and Pakistan will gradually get rid of this enigma. The irrigation system of Pakistan also needs the attention of those who are sitting at the corridors of water. Pakistan cannot compete in this fast growing world with obsolete technologies and dilapidated system.
Regrettably, South Korea read Pakistan’s Five Year Plan in the 1960s to emulate. Today, Pakistan lags far behind from South Korea and likely to emulate its policies. The reason behind this regress is that Pakistan has never explored and addressed loopholes in its irrigation system. The bottom line is that experts must spring into action to revamp this system.
Additionally, implementation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) 1960 is necessary. Pakistan can raise the issue of Indian hegemonic attitude at international fora. It can request or lobby the international community to pressurise India for implementation of treaty. India has built Wular Barrage, Kishan Ganga and Baglihar Dams on Pakistani rivers. Pakistan has legitimate concerns for its security which is always under threat because of inimical immediate neighbour. It is wiser for both states to implement the Indus Water Treaty, according to principles of International Law. There are speculations that Pakistan will be a water scarce country within this decade. Experts have predicted gloomy future of Pakistan, if the issue remained in doldrums. Its causes range from Indian posture to internal mismanagement. The overwhelming demand-supply gap’s consequences are unbearable. Politics is skewed and lopsided; resulting political crisis and chaos. Society is rocked. Security is vulnerable and foreign policy witness fiasco. Industrial, agricultural and livestock sectors are under gave jeopardy. There is need of structural changes, proactive policies and their vigorous implementation. Political consensus, construction of small reservoirs, ameliorate of irrigation system and implementation of Indus Water Treaty are some steps that government must take as soon as possible – undoubtedly, the earlier the better.
Source : https://nation.com.pk/29-May-2019/water-scarcity-a-threat-for-pakistan?fbclid=IwAR0bq3m7dnHnztvwVBXPwOPQrtbd1-5Ja_3A-Gg1WofxD6sHm-ChZ2NY6UY