Nimra Zafar, Dept. of Environmental sciences, GCWUS
“Make every Drop of water Count”
Some 70 years of independence has passed but the government of Pakistan is still unable to utilize its resources. Although Pakistan is rich in mineral resources but the people are far away from their basic requirements such as electricity and water.
Water is essential to the survival of all organisms. Our earth is composed of 71 percent water whereas only 2.4 percent of water is potable water. Recently a research was conducted where it was stated that more than 40 percent of the world’s population has no access to clean water. There are no proper sanitation facilities and a large number of waste materials by industries and other factories are released into rivers, seas and oceans without proper treatment.
Dams are necessary for each country, not simply to assist within the electricity sector and agriculture however additionally for the day to day human uses in addition. Despite spending millions on development projects like metro bus and motorways, the country still lags behind in assuring the most basic human need; water. There aren’t enough dams in Pakistan; in fact, the only major dams built were only Mangla and Tarbela. Since then, no focus has been given to this area despite the fact that statistics are nothing but alarming. According to the new facts and figures, the development of hydropower projects is important in order to meet the increasing demand. Due to the increasing population, the per capita water available is decreasing and the natural process of sedimentation is further deteriorating the situation.
According to Islam, water is community resource and is a right for all humankind. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) highlights this in the following hadith:
“Muslims have common share in three things: grass [pasture], water, and fire [fuel]” (Musnad Vol. 2, Book 22).
The Indus river system authority has reported that the country wastes about 21 billion dollars’ worth of water every year just because there aren’t enough proper storage facilities. It has counseled that considering the present scenario of Pakistan, it desires regarding three dams the size of Mangla dam to store this further water. There aren't any arrangements to store water in monsoon days once there's overabundant incoming of water and it all finishes up flooding areas and eventually into the ocean. The already present dams are decades old and due to this, the silt deposits in them have reduced their ability to store water as much as they did before.
Kalabagh Dam is one matter that's beneath constant discussion for years as a result of it's thought-about to be the sole resolution which will fully solve this water crisis. The projected electricity dam is planned to construct on the Indus River within the Mianwali district. If this dam gets created, it will generate about 3,600 megawatts of electricity which is a great considering the current shortage of water and electricity as a result. This project can herald multiple advantages and in financial terms, about 1600 crore will be generated annually through the sale of electricity. In addition to this, it will irrigate about 7 million acres of land which will be provided to all 4 provinces.
It is estimated that if the situation continues to go like this, by the year 2025 Pakistan will lose about 22 billion cubic meters of water. The Pakistan Council of research in water resources has warned the authorities that the water shortage expected in 2025 will be much worse than that which occurred in 1990. There are organizations which are trying to make the public aware of this big issue that is going to strike in just a matter of a few years. The awareness will help people get responsible for their own part in which they will try to conserve water as much as they can. Nonetheless, the level of this problem requires measures on a large scale.
All human habitations combined in Pakistan, including large cities like Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi can only lay claim to about two percent of the available water. The industry also uses one percent of the total water. Meanwhile, Pakistan is the second biggest exporter of cotton and one of the major exporters of rice and sugarcane. All three crops are major consumers of water, and all three, generally, are produced by large farmers. Simply removing subsidies on agricultural electricity, I would argue, will solve the problem of water waste in the agriculture sector in one go. Sensible crop choices could, furthermore, quadruple the amount of water available for the all-important domestic water supply sector.
Water is a limited resource. What each of us does in the world, how we live, does make a difference. As we learn the value of clean, safe water and how scarce it truly is, we can take steps to protect it and to get it to people who lack access today. Did you know that nearly 1 billion people, mostly in the developing world, have no access to safe water? More than double this number - about 2.4 billion - have no access to any form of improved sanitation facilities. They could use your help to get it.
There are so many NGOs working for the conservation of water. Chitral is also among the lucky districts of Pakistan where the sanitary system has improved and the development work is in progress, thanks to the hard work of non-governmental organizations. Citizens should now play an active role in saving water without any dependence on any institution or NGOs. We should accept our responsibility before it is too late.
“When you conserve water, you conserve Life!”
Now, with the PTI’s government in control, a huge responsibility stays on their shoulder. Currently, the biggest issue that Pakistan is facing is of the water crisis and the consequent electricity shortage. Dams are thought to be the only solution to this and it is high time that concerned authorities realize the sensitivity of this situation and take control as soon as possible.
“Life depends on water, the reservoir depends on you.”
Nimra Zafar
Environmental Sciences GCWUS
The Earth Needs Love!