Earth’s water to land ratio (70% water and 30% land) may look like enough water for generations to use. However, only 3% of this water is freshwater that is used for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc. A large portion of this water is present in glacier form that is inaccessible for daily use.
Due to the increased level of global warming and climate change, glaciers have been melting at a much faster rate. With little fresh water to use, more than half of the earth is carelessly using water. Pakistan is one of the countries with no plans for saving water for the future. If things continue this way, the water crisis in Pakistan and all over the world is not only inevitable but will come with major repercussions.
The growing water scarcity is causing many concerns for people. Around 1.1 billion people around the globe do not have access to fresh water. Additionally, 2.7 billion people suffer from water shortage for a month every year. If these statistics are not enough, there are many other concerns for people that rise from water scarcity – directly or indirectly.
People who do not have direct access to water are forced to use the water that is available to them. This includes dirty water. For 2.4 billion people, this inaccessibility to clean water is the cause of water-borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, etc. Not only this, around 2 billion people die because of these diseases, annually.
Water Crisis In Pakistan
The water crisis in Pakistan is more or less telling the same story. International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that Pakistan’s per capita availability has reduced from 1500 to 1017 over the last two decades and it continues to reduce to 1000 per capita if necessary measures are not taken.
The water crisis in Pakistan will threaten the lives of people and the economy since Pakistan is still an agrarian country. Pakistan is 36th on the rank of water-stressed countries is expected to be facing major water scarcity by 2025 as reported by The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR). By 2040, Pakistan is expected to face full water scarcity that will cause irreversible damage to the country’s stability and future.
Apart from humans, the lives of animals also depend on water. The looming water crisis in Pakistan has been disrupting the ecosystem of many animals and birds. Many rivers and lakes that used to be full of water are now drying, leaving no place for aquatic animals to live. Moreover, the rising water pollution level is another threat to marine and aquatic life.
Climate change and global warming are changing weather patterns drastically. During these times, having water bodies can provide a relief to maintain global climate. However, there are not enough efforts are put to conserve more water.
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Factors Contributing to Water Crisis in Pakistan
As compared to the rest of the world, the water crisis in Pakistan is an underrated threat. What factors are contributing to this unpopular threat?
Negligence of Concerned Authorities
During these times, when extra efforts should be made to conserve water for the stable future of Pakistan, the authorities have failed to put even bare minimum efforts. Reports after reports have been released concerning the water crisis in Pakistan but there is a lack of structure and planning to overcome this threat. Many intellectuals have advised building small dams in different cities but it seems to be a futile effort.
Lack of Funds
Indeed, Pakistan’s economic conditions are not very good. More than half of the country’s GDP goes to debt servicing. In these situations, it is difficult to build the necessary infrastructure on an ad-hoc basis to conserve water. However, something must be done to save the future of the country.
For this reason, China has been supporting Pakistan in building dams as part of the CPEC plan. Apart from this, the country should stand on its own to face the challenges instead of relying on others. The popular dam fund initiative started a couple of years ago is also out of the picture. This has increased the concerns of people who enthusiastically participated in the drive.
Lack of Awareness
One of the main issues regarding climate change and the water crisis in Pakistan is the lack of necessary awareness among the masses. A large population of Pakistan is unaware of the looming threat of water scarcity and climate change.
Moreover, the large part of the country’s population that is living below poverty is least worried about the water conditions of the country. It is difficult to spread awareness among such masses who have to spend their day thinking of earning enough to feed themselves and their children.
Unless and until the basic needs of the country are met, issues like water crisis and climate change will hold close to zero importance to people.
Measure to Tackle Water Crisis in Pakistan
Necessary measures are needed to be taken before it is too late to reverse the damage caused by water scarcity. Water Crisis in Pakistan should be given the importance of a countrywide crisis. Following are some ways to tackle the looming water crisis:
- Spread awareness among the population to use water carefully.
- TV ads, cartoons, and dramas should incorporate concepts that normalize the carefull use of water and develop an aversion to wasting water among children and adults.
- More budget should be released for developing the infrastructure (i.e. dams, artificial lakes, water conservatories, etc.) to conserve rainwater.
- Instead of building bigger dams, many smalls dams in different areas will serve the purpose of saving water and generating electricity as per the population’s need.
- Other than that, the country lacks research bodies to find ways to recycle water into clean water for further use. The wasted water can be reused for factories and industrial plants. This can save water and will provide more clean water for drinking purposes.
Although these are just small suggestions as compared to a bigger approaching danger of water crisis in Pakistan. but a small start can snowball into bigger actions if done properly. Hopefully, Pakistan takes the necessary actions for water conservation and avoid the predicted waterless future.
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