With effects of climate change getting more ominous Pakistan now routinely faces the risk of floods during the monsoon season. On the other hand in cities there is severe issue of water shortage during each summer. There is no way to prevent floods; however taking steps to reduce the damage is something that can be done and which requires a national effort.
The Council of Common Interests during its recent meeting approved the financing of National Flood Protection Plan Phase-IV at an overall cost of 177.661 billion rupees on fifty-fifty share basis by the federal government and the provincial governments. This is a welcome step and shows that the federal as well as provincial governments are well aware of the potentially dangerous situation that can arise if we don’t plan ahead for floods. The Federal Flood Commission estimates that the aggregated damage caused by the floods of the last six years is equivalent to all the damage caused in the previous 60 years. The three years from 2014 to 2016 resulted in the loss of over 1000 lives due to floods. The threat of flood during monsoon season becomes even more ominous when you take into account that 84 per cent of river flows in summer. Keeping in view these facts it is now essential that the flood protection plan is implemented fully.
Another severe water related problem during the summer months it he water scarcity. This particularly affects the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The two cities rely on water from Rawal Dam, Khanpur Dam, Simly Dam and tube-wells, however these resources are not enough to cater to the needs of the two cities and there is an acute water shortage during summers. The water shortage has resulted in more and more people opting to utilize underground water, this excessive pumping is fast depleting Islamabad’s aquifers and experts worry that if unchecked it could potential cause irreparable damage to the aquifers. Urgent policy making is the need of the hour to counter these threats.
Floods and water scarcity both pose tremendous challenge for Pakistan.
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