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When the well is dry

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water” Benjamin Franklin

Heavy rainfalls, land of five rivers, two big dams i.e. Tarbella and Mangla, nevertheless Pakistan is on the verge of disastrous water shortage.

Water is one of the most important natural resource and the major driving force for the economy of Pakistan.

Only a few decades ago, Pakistan was considered to have copiousness of good quality water.

Now population growth, economic development, rapid urbanization and industrialization, are applying continuous pressure on the already limited water resources of Pakistan.

Alarming situation is that Pakistan is at number 6 globally in the list of water stressed countries.

Immediately after its inception, in 1951, per capita surface water availability for irrigation was estimated at 5650 cubic meters; this declined abruptly to only 1350 cubic meters per head in 2002.

The minimum amount that should be available is 1000 cubic meters. According to the report of United Nations development program, availability of water is 1090m3 per capita per year.

A report issued by Asian Development Bank stated: “Pakistan is one 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”.

There are number of reasons in making Pakistan a water stressed country including some ground level problems which can be solved by serious attention.

Above all, is the wastage of water in daily household activities, nobody takes the responsibility of saving water. Although government policies are vital in reducing water shortage but individual efforts can’t be neglected. Floods are very common in Pakistan every summer due to melting of glaciers but most of the water gets wasted due to unavailability of storage facilities. These storage facilities can be built in the form of dams which are required for water storage and energy development.

KalaBagh dam is a disputed but extremely fruitful project, there shouldn’t be any political compromise on the future of nation.

The KalaBagh Dam can provide 6.5 million acre feet of water to nurture seven million acres of currently infertile land in addition to the 3,600 megawatts of electricity.

Another reason of storage shortage is accumulation of sand at the base of dams which is consistently increasing and eventually decreasing storage capacity.

Many past governments have started and halted this project in the interest of people.Irrigation system of Pakistan is outmoded which is another reason of wastage of water. Many other water scarce courtiers of the world use drip or sprinkled irrigation system to save water.

There are some steps which should be taken at every level to reduce water scarcity.

  • Educating masses about the importance of water and disadvantages of water shortage. Education creates awareness among people about how to prevent water scarcity from getting worse. Because at household level very few people care about it and use plenty of water in washing and gardening.
  • Building of water storage facilities at large scale e.g. damns. These facilities will help saving water from glaciers and eventually reduce floods every year.
  • Storage capacity of dams can be fully utilized by applying filters on all lines which are fetching water to dams. These filters will reduce the quantity of sand and other impurities and leadto maximum storage of water.
  • Farming plays a wide role in the scarcity of water because the current irrigating practices are wasting huge amount of water. Sprinkling and drip irrigation methods help in conserving water.
  • Sewage system is another indicator which plays important role in improving water loss. We use to see many cases where sewage lines are mixing with clean water lines which cause clear water, unfit for use. By fixing such issues we can save water.
  • Water leakage from clean water channels is routine matter and causes water loss due to delay in fixing. These channels should be monitored and fixed in time to save water.
  • Recycling of rain and other water should be encouraged to be used at home. It will prevent water scarcity and help economically.
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