Resolving national water shortage issue

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Pakistan has in most areas of agriculture a monsoon climate, and there might be abundant rainfall during the wet season and then a very long dry season where crop production depends very heavily on irrigation water. In this situation, when ground water is excessively over-pumped to meet agriculture requirement results in formation of salinity and barren lands that in long run causes food scarcity in the country. This man-made practice disrupts the natural hydrologic cycle, causes rivers and wetlands to dry up, the ground to collapse and fish and wildlife and trees to die. Pakistan luckily had the largest irrigation system, but water losses from the system were the highest in the world. This has made agricultural sector badly suffer as population of the country is increasing rapidly but as compared to population growing the capacity of agricultural sector is reducing rapidly due to water shortage. Timber mafia and rapid industrialization are also a contributing factor. Chashma, Mangla, and Tarbela are mainly used for irrigation purposes but their gross capacity has decreased due to sedimentation, a continual process. The per-capita surface-water availability for irrigation which was 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 was reduced to a mere 1,100 cubic meters per year in 2006. According g to 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 in water infrastructures and financially no sustainability of water management system. This no doubt must spark concerns for the agriculture managers. Pakistans climate is not particularly dry in fact semi arid to arid, 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. We live in an agricultural region where water is key for survival, but due to high level of mismanagement we, as a country, are dragging ourselves to food scarcity. A big investment in the repair of existing dams and the large scale construction of new water storage is the only solution. In managing water resources, the government must balance competing demands between urban and rural, the economy and the environment. Our decision makers need to rise to this critical situation and take some result-oriented measures so that the water shortage is controlled and the agriculture is saved from devastation.


Published in: Volume 05 Issue 26

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