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June 23, 2021

Saving water

 
June 23, 2021

Reserving our resources of water is absolutely essential to the future of our country and to the population of cities, including Lahore. In this sense, the achievement made by the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), of preserving underground water resources in Lahore by preventing depletion for the first time since 1960 with water maintained at the same level as before in 2018, amounts to a gigantic step forward. Since 1960, the aquifer or underground water has been falling by one metre per year. Over the years, this of course means a massive decline in underwater resources and a shortage in safe drinking water for the population of the city.

The efforts made by Wasa to preserve underground water are commendable. They have prevented the use of pumps to pull water out of the ground – whether domestic or commercial premises – car-washing stations have been fitted with recycling plants, water used for ablutions at mosques is being recycled for use in gardens and other similar steps taken to save the water we still have left underground. This is crucial in any country which could face severe water scarcity by 2050 if the existing water resources are not protected. While Wasa must be praised for its efforts, we also need to educate people about the need to preserve water. The Dolphin Force in the city has been asked to take pictures of water wastage and send them to Wasa for action. This, again, is a good step. But we also need public service messaging on the media and social media to convince people to avoid wasting water by leaving taps open, washing cars using large supplies of water, or allowing faucets to drip when they can be repaired. The pumping of water also has an impact on underground water and its levels.

The example set by Wasa needs to be followed in other cities in Punjab and also further afield. As the head of Wasa has said, Pakistan has an abundant resource of water. What is essential is to preserve it and keep it safe so that the generations to come do not face the kind of water shortage that the UN has warned could turn the world into a place where drought is common and where people die due to a lack of water resources available to them. In our own country, this must not happen and the only way to do so is to now build on the foundations set by Wasa and follow the guidelines given as well as improving them further, so that water can be preserved and used by the population, which often has struggled to find safe water for drinking and household purposes.