Significant strides have been made in Pakistan for forwarding the environmental agenda from being a stand-alone topic to one identifying itself as an integral element of the national mainstream development with the recently launched Mid-Term Development Framework for This also lends itself to address sustainable environmental development as a vehicle for economic growth. Several policies, plans, programs and projects have been initiated for environmental protection and conservation in the sectoral areas of water and air pollution control, land use, forest management, energy efficiency, biodiversity conservation, and waste management, etc.
Is this really the case? When the sun shines on the ocean, it creates moist air aka clouds that moves north towards the land. When it strikes the mountains, it cools down and releases the moisture as rain or snow—creating glaciers, rivers and streams flowing into our landscape all the way to the Arabian Sea.
This system is in place for millions of years and is not going away any time soon. For Pakistan to really run out of water, therefore, either the Indian Ocean should be dried up, the sun switched off, or the mountains flattened.
As long as the sun, the ocean, and the mountains are there, Pakistan is not running out of water. And global warming can only increase rainfall because it will provide more heat to the ocean which will result in bigger clouds — and more rains.
Global warming is not going to reduce the amount of water in our country.
After Pakistan permitted India to divert three eastern rivers of Indus Basin away from the country, we now get an average of million acre-feet MAF of water in our rivers each year with which we have to manage all our needs.
The primary needs are food production, drinking, hygiene, sanitation, municipal, and industry. Pakistan is now a food-surplus country and we consume MAF of water annually to grow our food. Compared to us, Israel produces 70 per cent more, California 50 per cent more, and even Indian Punjab 30 per cent more with the same quantity of water.
If we upgrade our outdated irrigation system, we can produce surplus food with less than 50 MAF of water. According to international standards, a community needs 35 gallons per capita per day to meet drinking, cooking, health, hygiene and municipal needs.
If we want to supply this amount of water to every community in the country, all we need is 12 MAF. Catering for growing requirements of million individuals, our domestic requirements can be managed well within 17 MAF.
Finally, our industrial requirements at the moment are around eight MAF. With a combination of industrial growth and efficient use of water, our future industrial requirements can be met with 10 MAF or so. Water availability in the country versus the demand is summarised in Figure 2.
This shows that we have almost twice as much water as we need. Figure 2 Then, why the crisis? In the irrigation sector, which is the biggest consumer of available water, the wastage is too high both in state-managed distribution system of canals as well as on-farm practices by the farmers.
The wasteful consumption has raised the demand in irrigation sector at least twice more than the need. But wastage of water aside, this is the prime reason that from neighbouring provinces to neighbouring farmers, every water user is fighting with the other over, so called, water rights and allocations.
This has, therefore, compromised on the peace in the country, and thus has created a dangerous dividing line within the communities and the provinces.
The next major problem is pollution of water resources.
Despite having enough water, our cities, industries and agriculture sectors, all have become engines of pollution for the natural water repositories. There is indiscriminate pollution of both the rivers and underground aquifers — leaving their waters unfit for use. The third major problem is mismanagement and corruption within the water sector, both in the rural and urban settings.
The rural sector suffers from head and tail disparities along irrigation canals where theft and manipulation of water by the powerful is common. In the urban sector, selling of public water supply through tankers is an everyday routine.
Poor planning, leakage, theft, and pitiable maintenance of water supply systems in the cities deprive the citizens from getting water even when it is available.
And finally, our water managers are always lamenting that though there is enough water in the natural system, most of it is only available during the monsoons.
So, what is the way to go around these problems? Would dams fix wasteful irrigation practices? Would they control pollution?
Would they help curb corrupt practices? Would they help manage excessive water supply of monsoon? And even if the last issue is fully resolved through the construction of a large dam, the first three issues would continue to loom and our water problems would hardly improve.development potential The increasing proportion of Pakistanâ€™s youth Top 10 Environmental Issues in Pakistan Envirocivil com November 15th, - We should definitely like to see Pakistan without We Need Kalabagh Dam Pakistan For Development Dams issue November 2nd, - This video is made on the subjects of kalabagh Dam.
This intervention alone addresses the storage and irrigation purposes of Kalabagh Dam – for the dam’s million acres of irrigated area, the intervention brings in million acres; and, for MAF of storage, it provides MAF. Should the government commence the construction of Kalabagh Dam or should the project be abandoned?
Kalabagh Dam, one of the largest projects pending in Pakistan, is to be located on river Indus at a site about miles away from the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad.
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In the public imagination, the proposed Kalabagh Dam has become many things: An answer, an excuse, a conspiracy against the federation. More crucially, it is a mirror.