“Man argue, nature acts” Voltaire

Since the inception of Pakistan, it has been facing different challenges but some are the result of mismanagement and lack of due consideration. Water scarcity is one of them. The 2017 Global Risk Report of the World Economic Forum ranks water crisis as the third most important global risk in terms of impact on humanity. It means water plays an vital role for the survival of any nation if the handsome amount of water is not available it may lead to the war. In the case of Pakistan, there are several causes behind water scarcity i. e. mismanagement of water, put behind the institutional warning either national or international, lack of proper implementation of Environmental laws and lack of awareness. All these causes make a complex  situation of water scarcity that threats the daily life of citizens (in the shape of pollution) and also threats the national integrity of Pakistan. It is high time to take effective measures to meet the demand of water and mitigate the pollution which will further make the grimmy situation of water scarcity. Otherwise, the structure of country will collapsed.

Pakistan is the most water-intensive economy of the world where agriculture contributed 19.3% of the national GDP. There is no proper planning, management and awareness of farmers or land owners about the gravity of water scarcity. They blindly follow theirs traditional belief to show their pride by producing more and more water intensive crops i. e. wheat, sugarcane, rice and rice. Currently, Pakistan produced 6.5 million tones of wheat which is 1.2 million tinned increase from the previous year. In addition, 93 percent of water consumed  in agriculture sector, how a country which has more than 220 million population will survive merely in 7 percent. Is it possible? The answer is Big No! It needs proper management of water by rebuilding  or maintaining the outdated water infrastructure of Pakistan. This type of unregulated farming lead to Pakistan where the country will never be returned.

Water scarcity is alarming the bells for the national policy maker. As IMF ranked Pakistan third in the world among those facing actuate water crisis and if the same trend continues Pakistan may become a country with n absolute scarcity of water by 2025. There are several grey areas of proper implementation of environmental law at the grassroots level. The environmental laws are merely good on paper but there is a complete lack  of environmental agencies at district level. The other institutions which are responsible to check the performance of Environmental agencies turn deaf ear to this. It shows the importance of water scarcity in the eyes of institutions and policy makers which are so called the true nationalist.

Climate change and water scarcity are inextricable to each other. Climate change causes the reduction of 30 to 40% in Indus River which  is the backbone of society. Advisor to PM on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, recently remarked that the Indus Water Treaty overlooked climate changes and decreasing the level of underground water. Furthermore, outside the polar region, Pakistan has the highest number of glaciers than any other country. But the current trend of melting ice is continue, there will be no glaciers in Pakistan by 2035.The water scarcity may add fuel to the inter-provisional rivalries which is not come under the basket of national interest. Water scarcity is not a simple problem of country, it has potential to start the war between nuclear arch-rivals of South Asia Pakistan and India. The security analyst should into consideration and formulate the policy which make sure the peace in the region as well as in Pakistan.



Pollution of land, water and air further aggravated the situation of water scarcity. Pakistan has total of 60 lakes and most of them are highly populated. In industrial areas, the wastage material of industries fall into the open ocean through river and streams and Karachi is the classical example. Deforestation is another important factor behind the water scarcity and Pakistan loses approximately 2.1 per cent of its forest. It means there is no hurdle in the flow of run-off. The barren land of Sindh province, Tharparker faces the acute shortage of water scarcity. From life to death all the citizens are suffering from water borne disease. According to Who, water borne diarrheal disease are responsible for 2 million death annually across the world, with the majority occurring in children under 5 years. Apart from that, only 20% of the population have access of clean water and 80% of polluter water responsible 80% of all disease and 30 % of death.

Someone believe that proper infrastructure is the only solution. If it is the case, Mexico city receives abundant rainfall but improper management and monitoring ranked in the top cities threatened by economic water scarcity. In addition, in 2028, Cape Town faced “Day Zero” when municipal taps would run dry. So, water scarcity is not a local challenge but it the challenge of all nations. It is high time for all nations especially developing countries like Pakistan that they should revisit their traditional policies by taking the current scenario into consideration. So, the upcoming generation will save from the water scarcity.

As rightly said by Henry David Thoreau “what is the use of a house if you have not got a tolerable planet to put it on? “.

About the Author: Muhammad Owais is employed in Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh. He is a Geologist and an Educationist with an aim to work for environment, climate and sustainable development. He believes that without protecting environment, it is impossible to achieve the sustainable development goals. He is also a regular writer of Climate Act Magazine and educationist. He is a English Language Teacher and Mentor of Professional Subjects.