Conservation of water termed crucial for economic growth

  • May 14, 2010
Pakistan is predicted to face a serious water crisis in near future that could jeopardize the economic stability of the country and government should adopt a proactive approach to conserve water by building more dams and new reservoirs for achieving sustainable economic growth.

This was the consensus opinion of businessmen in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI). Chairing the meeting, Zahid Maqbool, President ICCI stressed that conservation of water is badly needed to meet the rising electricity demand and to fulfill its industrial and agricultural requirements.

He said that Pakistan’s economy is mostly dependent on agriculture, but serious shortage of water will hit the agricultural productivity sending all sectors of the economy into great slump. He said increasing imbalance between the availability and demand of water is becoming a serious problem and government should pay more attention to preventing water loss and wastage by launching a comprehensive mass awareness campaign for proper conservation and management of water.

Businessmen said that storage of water is vital to save the industrial sector from the consequences of a water shortage. They said that there are over half a million small and big industrial units in the country and the estimated usage of water by all industries is 3.5 million acre feet but this demand is increasing in line with enhanced production targets.

They said Pakistan’s electricity demand is increasing by eight percent annually, due to which the need for new water reservoirs becomes more urgent. They said Pakistan has 50,000 MW of hydropower potential, but only a little over 6000 MW has been installed while the country  is not producing more than 2,200 MW due to water shortage.

Zahid Maqbool said China and India are producing about 30 percent of their required power through water while developed countries are harnessing 70 to 80 percent of their hydro-potential for energy generation. But instead of generating hydropower, Pakistan is producing expensive thermal power due to which cost of production has gone very high.

He said Pakistan should focus on hydro power generation to provide cheap energy to domestic, commercial and  industrial sectors. However, to achieve this goal, conservation and proper management of water is the basic requirement, he stressed.