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Pakistan crossed the water scarcity line in 2005. If anything, that should have been the warning call for those in charge to act. Historically ignorant, we let it fall on deaf ears and now we face a bleak future.

Pakistan is very deep into a water crisis. According to the United Nations, Pakistan will run dry by 2025. This is a horrifying prediction, but not a surprising one. The experts have long called for measures to drastically reduce wastage and increase water reservation in the region. Pakistan is the most water-stressed country in the region. We have the highest water consumption per unit of GDP the world, thanks to our primitive irrigation techniques. We face a monster, yet remain oblivious to the threat and continue about our lives. Like every other issue, we will only wake up when it is too late.

Pakistan is reliant on agriculture and consumes the highest per cubic meter per produce.

An agrarian economy, Pakistan GDP is dominated by agricultural products. However, we waste most of our water in the process. Devoid of advanced methodology like sprinklers, Pakistan uses surface irrigation – the most water ineffective method. Irrigation canals are prone to seepage and water loss. Flood irrigation techniques let river arsenic contamination get into groundwater, which also contaminates the groundwater.

Our wastefulness extends to our households. Leaky taps and pipelines, along with excessive overuse of water deepen the shortage. The rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan depict deserts without a sign of water. Residents walk miles on an end to fill water unfit for human consumption.

The scenario isn’t very encouraging in the urban landscape as well, with residents lacking access to water. They in turn resort to overpriced water tankers and water theft from the main lines.

Drastic and swift measures serve as the only beacon of hope to dodge the water crisis.

Despite being one of the rarest commodities, water is still one of the cheapest products available. Education and awareness remain vital components to improve conservation, but the most important has to be adequate pricing. Pricing will help people realize the severity of the issue.

The second and the most important measure has to conservation.

Since Tarbela and Mangla, Pakistan has failed to build any other major dam. Kalabagh remains a controversial issue and those in power prioritize petty things above serious issues. Moreover, India has violated the Indus Water Treaty time and time again to build dams. This causes a decrease in the influx of water and the lack of dams cause an increase in outflow of water. The water wastage is the highest in the world due to a lack of reservoirs, yet we remain ignorant. If Pakistan fails to act now, it will be yet another example of too little, too late.

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Osama Saeed

Writer at Dailypunch. Views are my own.
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