SUKKUR: Judicial Water Commission Chairman Justice (retired) Amir Hani Muslim on Saturday stressed an efficient water management for sustainable socioeconomic development in the country that is on the verge of becoming water-stressed.
“We must divert our attention and develop strategies and action plans to solve water-related issues,” Muslim said, addressing an event at US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro.
The Supreme Court constituted the commission to probe into failures of authorities to solve water and sanitation issues in Sindh.
The commission’s chairman said the country has witnessed devastating floods, prolonged drought, heat waves, and erratic weather patterns, which affect almost every aspect of life including agricultural productivity, livestock, food security, disease vectors, recession of the Himalayan glaciers and hydropower generation.
Water availability in the Indus River has been decreasing over time. Per capita availability of water in Pakistan has been down to almost 1,000 cubic meters from more than 5,000 cubic meters in 1947. “The situation has been aggravated further due to the fact that Pakistan is considered as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change,” he added.
Muslim further said water insecurity has emerged as an impediment to sustainable development in the country and inefficient management leads more than 50 percent of water. Reliable drinking water is accessible to less than 15 percent of the population.
The commission’s head said inadequate sanitation leads to waterborne diseases and environmental and health issues. He called for collaboration between private and public sectors to attain the water sustainable goal of the United Nations.
Mehran University Vice Chancellor Aslam Uqaili said prevailing water shortage and climate change increases responsibility of effective management of water resources and heightens the need of preparation to deal with extreme weather events. Uqaili said the university’s diploma course, ‘Flood Forecasting and Flood Hazard Management’, is an example of joint and coordinated efforts of the centre and the Sindh Irrigation Department, which provided Rs41 million to fund capacity building.