Another impending crisis

November 5, 2017

Each year Pakistan suffers loss of billions in addition to loss of lives due to lack of water management. The country has been hit by deadly flooding in summer months for the last many years.

In 2010, almost entire Pakistan was affected when massive flooding caused by record breaking rains hit the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. At least 2,000 people died in this flood and almost 20 million people were affected by it. In September 2011, at least 361 people were killed, some 5.3 million people and 1.2 million homes affected as well 1.7 million acres of arable land inundated when massive floods swept across the province of Sindh. In September 2012, more than 100 people died, and thousands of homes destroyed, with thousands of acres of arable land affected when intense rainfall battered Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Southern Punjab and Upper Sindh. In 2013, heavy monsoon rains triggered floods affecting more than 300,000 people across Pakistan. Floods hits the country in the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 too causing the country heavy monetary losses in addition to loss of precious lives.

In addition to the above mentioned floods and losses , the country suffers heavily due to flooding in urban centers due to heavy rains in Monsoon season. However despite the losses the government seems to have no interest in forming a policy that mitigates the damage caused by floods.

Shockingly as per reports, Pakistan can store only 10% of its annual rivers flow as compared to the world average of 40%. This is one of the major reasons of flooding during summer months. A figure that may surprise many is that Pakistan can only store up to 30 days worth of water, whereas neighboring India can store as much as 300 days worth of water.

This week, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) told the Senate Forum for Policy Research that Pakistan dumps water worth approximately $21 billion into the sea each year due to a lack of water conservation systems. Considering the heavy damage caused by floods and equally heavy monetary loss in terms of water lost to sea there is an urgent need to increase storage capacity and formulate policies that will aid in water conversation and avoiding the heavy damage caused by floods.

If new water reservoirs are not made, Pakistan will face an extreme water shortage in coming years.