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Pakistan may face severe water shortage, warn experts

Experts have warned that a famine-like situation may arise if the issue is not resolved in a timely fashion

By Web Desk
July 04, 2021
Photo of women filling water in large containers in the outskirts of Lahore — AFP.
Photo of women filling water in large containers in the outskirts of Lahore — AFP.

Experts have warned that Pakistan may face a severe water crisis if measures are not taken in a timely fashion, Geo News reported Sunday.

Per the report, water scarcity in the country has set alarm bells ringing after rivers have dried up due to low rainfall, while India also continues to block the flow of water towards Pakistan, making the situation worse than ever before.

Sources told the outlet that the per capita availability of water in the country is 1,100 million cubic metres per annum — which is dangerously low — while in Punjab one has to go to a depth of 600 feet to draw groundwater. In the past, one had to go to a depth of 50 feet only.

The report further said that each year, the Kharif and Rabi crops face up to 45% water shortage while the groundwater level in small and big cities across Punjab, including Lahore, has started falling.

Water experts warn that if new water reservoirs are not created and water wastage is not stopped, Pakistan will face a famine-like situation.

According to water experts, due to increasing population, water loss and climate change, the authorities will have to take immediate precautions, otherwise, famine will be inevitable.

The President of Pakistan Engineering Congress Amjad Saeed said that the water problem may become more serious in the coming days.

He said that in addition to the water dispute with India, the provinces of Pakistan are also fighting with each other over the distribution of water.

"About 7 million acre-feet of fresh water is lost to the sea every year. If this is not the authorities incompetence, then I don't know what is," said Saeed.

Shedding light on the matter, the Managing Director of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Lahore, Zahid Aziz, said that for the last 15 to 20 years, the groundwater levels of Lahore city have been going down by one meter every year.

"This happened due to the lack of rainfall, condition of Ravi river and wastage of water by citizens," he said.

He, however, said that government measures have raised the groundwater level by two metres, which is enough for major cities, including Lahore, for many years to come.

He said that at present, people in Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, and most of the cities of South Punjab are facing a shortage of freshwater but projects are being set up to deal with it.