ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Tuesday expressed grave concern over depletion of water resources, terming it the greatest threat to the survival of country.
Water scarcity is emerging as biggest threat to Pakistan, which will lay waste to fertile lands and damaging industry resulting in devastating security situation, said FPCCI President Abdul Rauf Alam.
“Pakistan depends heavily on annual glacier melts and monsoon rains. Water from these sources flow down the rivers and out to the sea. These glaciers are melting due to climate change while rivers are drying leaving many to rely on ground water, which has been reducing the water table,”
Pakistan is already a water-scarce country, therefore the government should immediately move to settle disputes over dams without which future of the country seems bleak as demand and supply gap for water has reached alarming levels, he added.
Alam said that climate change, decreasing glaciers and forests has been depleting groundwater in almost all the parts of the country, adding that different areas have been witnessing reduction in water table, which has increased the cost of pumping water through tube wells making life difficult for farming communities.
He said that scarcity of water is to hurt entire agricultural chain, creating problems like unemployment, food security and closure of industries.
“Almost 145 million acre feet (MAF) water passes annually through the country, out of which only 14 MAF could be stored enough for one month while international standard stood at 90 days of storage,” he added.
The FPCCI president said the country’s population would be 250 million by 2025, and demand for water would be at 338 billion cubic metres while availability would be 236 BCM, creating many challenges.
He said Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. However, owing to the poor state of infrastructure, about two-thirds is lost due to poor transmission and seepage. “The government should try to stop water theft, introduce new verities of seed requiring less water, train farmers to use less water and make reservoirs to store floodwater which will improve water table,” he added.
The FPCCI president called for revisiting Indus Water Treaty as it was signed when issues like climate change and environmental degradation were not on the table, therefore it should be revisited to soothe the reservations of Pakistan.
Source: Daily times