Managing water resources
Last week, the world observed the International Water Day highlighting the importance of potable water, water-borne human as well as agriculture diseases and negative effects of contaminated water on environment. Water has proved to be the sole guarantee to the existence of life on earth. According to the United Nations, the proper management of water resources is key to ensuring an adequate supply for the growing demands of the worlds population. But ironically we hardly realize the significance of water resources. On March 22 – the International Water Day – more than 1,000 million people lack a basic water supply, and 1.5 million children die each year from diseases caused by contaminated and non-drinkable water. According to a fresh survey, the number of kidney patients is on the rise in Pakistan especially in the areas close to chemical plants or reservoirs having contaminated water. Most water we humans consume is what comes to us through food. Each day, a person can drink about 2 litres of water, but to produce a kilo of rice, 2,450 litres of water are needed, and for a kilo of pork, nearly 6,000 litres. These are two examples of the amount of water needed to produce food. However, now water is not available in many parts of our planet, which has raised serious concerns for the administrations of these respective states. Already in 2012, the worlds population has reached 7 billion inhabitants and it is estimated that within three decades it may reach around 9 billion. Consequently, the water needs for food production or the needs to ensure sustainable food supplies for much of the planet will be one of the major problems we face in order to meet these growing demands for food. Pakistan, being no exception, is fast plunging into severe water crisis both in agriculture and potable drinking water. Water management is fast becoming a critical issue especially when the country is experiencing severe water shortage in rivers and reservoirs, whose water storage capacity is facing going down mainly due to the lack of effective measure on the part of the authorities concerned. At the same time the provision of potable particularly in remote and neglected areas is an equally critical issue that needs to be resolved on an emergency basis. The government is suggested to raise public and institutional awareness regarding water issues and to promote a new culture regarding water that allows for a fair and sustainable management of national water resources. It is also binding on the government to implement all kinds of actions to mitigate the negative effects of the lack of adequate water resources.