ICCI for National Water Strategy to cope water scarcity issue

  • October 09, 2014
Water scarcity is emerging as a serious issue for Pakistan, which could badly affect its economy and government should focus on developing a National Water Strategy to cope with this issue of national importance, said Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. 
He said the National Water Strategy should be based on two essential elements i.e. water development and water management. The water development strategy should focus on construction of new water dams and reservoirs while water management strategy should focus on reducing water losses to conserve maximum water. 
He said per capita water availability in Pakistan currently stands at only 1000 cubic metres while it was 5600 cubic metres at the time of our independence. The per capital water availability in US was 6000 cubic metres, Australia 5500 cm and China 2200 cm thus water shortage is posing a serious threat to Pakistan. He said China has built more than 22000 large dams while India has built more than 4700 big dams, but unfortunately policymakers in Pakistan have paid no serious attention to this issue, which is vital for producing cheap energy and for the survival of our economy. 
Muzzamil Sabri said the recent floods have also highlighted the significance of water reservoirs and dams for the country. He said Pakistan suffered colossal losses in terms of human lives, property, crops, cattle-heads and infrastructure while millions of cubic metres of water have gone waste. All these losses could have been avoided had Pakistan built large and small dams, he said.
He said floods have affected cropped area of around 2.5 million acres causing losses of about Rs.240 billion to the farming community and government should ensure fair compensation to farmers to enable them to come out of the crisis situation.
He said the government’s package of Rs.4000 per acre for farmers holding up to 10 acres of land is insufficient as even routine crops like wheat need around Rs.25000 investment per acre and government should come forward to to offset their losses.
He said due to climate change, Pakistan is likely to face recurrent floods in monsoons and government should devise a long-term strategy to build water reservoirs, especially in flood-hit areas in order to minimize its negative impact on the country’s economy.