Mon September 24, 2018
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
Must Read

Top Story

November 29, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Sleeping over looming water shortages

The 1960 Indus Water Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between Pakistan and India, brokered by the World Bank. Under the accord, India can use water from the three eastern rivers Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi, while Pakistan has exclusive rights over the three western rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.


In the recent past, Indian Prime Minister Modi 'reviewed' the nearly six-decade-old Indus Waters Treaty which allocates waters from three rivers -- the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab -- between the neighbours, deciding that India will move to utilise more of the rivers' resources. He declared that water belonging to India will not be allowed to go to Pakistan. “The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan…Government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers.”


Pakistan responded to India that it could not unilaterally revoke or alter the treaty. “The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time barred and was never intended to be time or event specific. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision,” the Foreign Office Spokesperson stated.


Indian officials have even warned that “abrogation or a renunciation of the treaty was also an option being considered.” According to FAO, more than 95 percent of Pakistan’ irrigated land is in the Indus River basin. Some 25 percent of the country's GDP comes from agriculture. At the same time, out of the 140 million acre feet (MAF) of water annually available in Pakistan in a normal year, only about 40 MAF reaches the Indus delta. The other 100 MAF of water is consumed over an area of 40 million acres. According to international standards, water storage capacity is ideally recommended to be around 1,000 days given the climate in the country. However, in Pakistan it stands at unbelievably low 30 day supply. Thus, there is a grave danger Pakistan could become a water scarce country, which would be a disaster for a country that survives mostly on agriculture.


The UN’s World Water Development Report has already warned: “The total actual renewable water resources in Pakistan decreased from 2,961 cubic meters per capita in 2000 to 1,420 cubic meters in 2005.”


Pakistan is on the verge of being classified as a "water scarce" country says the Asian Development Bank. A report issued by the bank has stated: "Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, not far from being classified as 'water scarce,' with less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year.” As compared to Pakistan, the per capita water availability in the US is 6,000 cubic metres, Australia 5,500 cubic metres and China 2,200 cubic metres.


The ADB report further stated: “At present, Pakistan's storage capacity is limited to a 30-day supply, well below the recommended 1,000 days for countries with a similar climate." About the agriculture sector, the ADB added: "Achieving the major challenge of boosting agricultural productivity and strengthening food security requires improving the management, storage, and pricing of water for irrigation. Improved water management is critical to deliver sufficient water to the 80% of farmland in the country that is irrigated. Anecdotal evidence suggests that agricultural productivity could be doubled with appropriate reform."


But much before this report came out, the UN’s World Water Development Report had already warned: “The total actual renewable water resources in Pakistan decreased from 2,961 cubic meters per capita in 2000 to 1,420 cubic meters in 2005.”


Now, according to the ADB, it has fallen to 1,000 cubic meters per capita. As compared to Pakistan, the per capita water availability in the US is 6,000 cubic metres, Australia 5,500 cubic metres and China 2,200 cubic metres.


Early 2015, the New York Times ominously warned in a report that “energy-starved Pakistanis, their economy battered by chronic fuel and electricity shortages, may soon have to contend with a new resource crisis: major water shortages.”


Quoting former Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, the report said: “A combination of global climate change, waste and mismanagement have led to an alarmingly rapid depletion of Pakistan’s water supply….. under the present situation, in the next six to seven years, Pakistan can be a water-starved country.”


According to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan has an estimated population of 187 million with an annual growth rate of 1.57 percent. By the year 2050, the population is expected to double and would become 63.7% urban as compared to only 36 percent in 2010. This will put tremendous pressure on water supply for households, industry and agriculture. But then we still continue to ignore the most alarming threat to the country's existence i.e. water shortages.

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar