Water is a necessity of every human and a requirement for life to exist. Pakistan is facing a severe water crisis that is increasing with time and building more concerns than resolutions.
The International Monetary Fund notes that Pakistan is ranked at the third position amongst the countries that are dealing with critical water deficits. The Pakistan Council of Research In Water Resources proclaimed in 2018 that there will be a lack of clean water in Pakistan by 2025, and the availability of water will be scarce.
According to the WaterAid organization, 21 million people do not have access to clean water in their households. Currently, hardly 20% of Pakistan’s total population can utilize non-polluted water. The remaining 80% of the population still consumes water that is highly polluted and contaminated by sewage, industrial waste, pesticides, and fertilizers.
There are multiple components to the problems regarding water in Pakistan such as climate change, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of resolution-based decisions. The global environment is altering its course because of nature, due to the contribution of human engagement in natural resources. The unbalanced equilibrium is leading to unexpected weather changes and climate variations. This results in the phenomena of climate change and produces several consequences such as flooding, prolonged droughts, and unpredictable rainfall.
Another factor contributing to the water crisis is the inefficient management devices employed by water-related institutions and authorities. Water is abundant in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, however, due to a deficiency of leadership skills; water availability is in crisis.
There is a dire need for effective policy planning and implementation surrounding the issues of water, including devising ways to secure water for forthcoming generations. The obstacle is that this crisis is not looked upon as an emergency but as another problem amongst the others in the vast pond of issues in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s fundamental portion of the economy is highly dependent on the agriculture industry. The country relies on agriculture sector activities to prosper the economy and bring more growth. This requires a constant supply of water and this process is essential to the output of all types of industries too.
To put in simple words, without water, there is the only downfall from every aspect of the economy. The ongoing water crisis serves as a reminder for authorities to properly formulate strategies and provide results that ensure the supplies of water will not show a further shortage but secure more water for consumers.
In 2021, Pakistan has already witnessed the consequences of the mismanagement of resources. Recently, A spokesperson from the Balochistan government named Liaquat Shahwani warned that the province will block the supply of Balochistan to Karachi from the Hub Dam if Balochistan’s share of water is continued to be plundered.Liaquat Shahwani stated,”The province received 44 % less water in the month in comparison to the last month in which Balochistan received 34 % less water than its share” .
There is a conflict between the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) members about the distribution of water in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab which has regressed into an unproductive debate with no resolutions for the water crisis. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, an expert on climate change and development shared his views in a dawn article about the consequences of the inefficiency of water-related institutions.
He emphasizes that the authorities are more driven by initiating economic-based solutions of water-saving and efficiency. The decisions of the Water Apportionment Accord and Indus River System Authority both indicate the lack of solid outcomes from valid decision-making.
The WAA also regarded as the Water Apportionment Accord placed the policies for water allocation of 114.35 MAF amongst four regions, which is a high quantity figure. This quantity is not achievable unless there is an investment in big infrastructures such as reservoirs and dams. However, the agreements of this new reservoir and the management of scarcity of water were not brought into the light.
The other authority IRSA formulated a three-tier plan excluding KP and Balochistan and only including Punjab and Sindh in the agreement. However, in the past 20 years, IRSA has not convinced Sindh to join the agreement. Thus, it is vital IRSA finds a new methodology to resolve the water crisis, and utilize advanced technology and data gathering techniques to devise valid and practical plans.
The water crisis is an issue that needs to be addressed and worked on at an urgent level. Water is the basis of all human life, and it is essential for the future of humans. Thus, its depletion and scarcity should be taken as an emergency that needs to be resolved with better planning and management. The only way to counteract water deficiency in the future is to act on the issue currently, or else the problem might become too far gone to be resolved, and produce drastic outcomes.