STAFF REPORT IBD: The rising salinity is estimated to affect 20 per cent irrigated area of Pakistan consequently making land production less. There are signs of growing water scarcity and environmental stress in large parts of important cultivated areas in Asia, reveals the Asian Water Development outlook 2013.
“With significant lack of water, deterioration of water quality will limit water use, threatening the ecosystems, and creating a drag on socio-economic development. Irrigation-induced salinisation reduces productivity and can ultimately take land out of production. Saline soils are already estimated to affect almost 50 per cent of irrigated areas in Turkmenistan, 23 percent in the PRC, and 20 percent in Pakistan,” the report said.
Pollution from cities is only a part of the challenge to the security of the water environment. South Asia and Central and West Asia have rivers assessed as being in the poorest health. Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka all have rivers that are in such poor health that environmental water security is threatened in these basins.
Without concerted efforts to ensure economic water security, the remarkable economic growth and poverty reduction in the region could be jeopardised. To restore healthy rivers and ecosystems eight percent of rivers in the region are in poor health, as measured by the river health index, the report maintains.
Most of the industries that are driving the economic growth of the region require reliable supplies of freshwater for some part of their production cycle, it says.