Pakistan’s Water Troubles (Part 2)

Again, via Celsias, another look at Pakistan’s water crisis:

“…No doubt Pakistan’s water crisis is predominantly a manmade problem. Pakistan’s climate is not particularly dry and nor is it lacking in rivers and groundwater. Extremely poor management, unclear laws, government corruption, and industrial and human waste have caused this water supply crunch and rendered what water is available practically useless due to the huge quantity of pollution.

The industrial output and commercial activity of a country is gauged by the per capita consumption of electricity. We are one of the lowest consumers of power in Asia. Per capita energy consumption of Pakistan is only 14 MBTU compared to 80 in China, 110 in Malaysia and 115 in Iran.

In one way or another the entire nation of Pakistan depends on the dams. The water stored in the dams is not only used for the agricultural purposes but also to provide electricity to a nation of nearly 16 million people. After much most suffering to the people of Pakistan, the current government is building more dams to store water for making electricity. A number of dams like Bhasha (4,500MW), Munda (740MW), Kurram Tangi (83MW) and Akhori Dam (600MW) have already been  announced by the current government while other dams like Bunji (7,100MW), Dasu (4,320MW) and Golen Gol (106MW) have a massive potential of producing hydel generation and it would also come in national grid in the coming years.

According  to  a World Bank report of 2006 Pakistan was fast moving from being a water-stressed country to a water-scarce country, primarily because of its high population growth, over-exploitation of ground water, pollution, poor repair of its water infrastructure and and unsustainable financial management of the water system.

The most water-rich country in terms of the run-off from rain-fall to population is Iceland, with more than 500,000 cubic meters per person per year; the most water- poor is Egypt, with just 0.02 cubic meters. Water is absolutely essential for plant life. It is pertinent to mention here that the major source of drinking water in Pakistan is groundwater, so water availability is the second most serious issue.

Future water demand will be affected by many factors, including population growth, wealth and sharing. Globally, it is estimated that between half a billion and almost two billion people are already under high water stress, and this number is expected to increase significantly by 2025, due primarily to population growth and the increasing impact of climate change.

We live in an agricultural region. Water is key for survival,  and water is lost mostly through mismanagement . A big investment in the repair of existing dams and the large scale construction of new water storage is a simple solution to the problem.  In managing water resources, the Pakistani government must balance competing demands between urban and rural, rich and poor, the economy and the environment. However, because people have triggered this crisis, by changing their actions they have the power to prevent water scarcity from devastating Pakistan’s population, agriculture, and economy.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2012 at 1:49 pm and is filed under Pakistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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