ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Tuesday expressed grave concern over depletion of water resources terming it the greatest threat to the survival of country.
Water scarcity is emerging as biggest threat to Pakistan which will lay waste to fertile lands and damaging industry resulting in devastating security situation, said Abdul Rauf Alam, President FPCCI.
Pakistan depends heavily on annual glacier melts and monsoon rains. Water from these sources flows down the rivers and out to the sea. These glaciers are melting due to climate change while rivers are drying leaving many to rely on ground water which has been reducing the water table.
Pakistan is already a water-scarce country therefore Government should immediately move to settle disputes over dams without which future of the country seems bleak as demand and supply gap for water has reached alarming levels, he added.
Abdul Rauf Alam said that climate change, decreasing glaciers and forests has been depleting groundwater in almost all the parts of the country. He said that different areas have been witnessing reduction in water table which has increased the cost of pumping water through tube wells making life difficult for farming communities.
He said that scarcity of water is to hurt entire agricultural chain creating problems like unemployment, food security and closure of industries.
Almost 145 million acre feet (MAF) water passes annually through country of which only 14 MAF could be stored enough for one month while international standard stood at 90 days of storage.
Country’s population would be 250 million by 2025, demand for water would be at 338 billion cubic meter while availability would be 236 BCM creating many challenges.
Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. However, owing to the poor state of infrastructure, about two-thirds is lost due to poor transmission and seepage.
Government should try to stop water theft, introduce new verities of seed requiring less water, train farmers to use less water and make reservoirs to store floodwater which will improve water table, he added.
The president FPCCI called for revisiting Indus Water Treaty as it was signed when issues like climate change and environmental degradation were not on the table therefore it should be revisited to soothe reservations of Pakistan. NNI