Water scarcity ‘biggest threat’ to Pakistan

Dire situation in Balochistan can affect economic corridor.

APP April 04, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has expressed concern over the depleting water resources, terming it the biggest threat to the country.

In a statement, FPCCI President Abdul Rauf said water scarcity was threatening the masses, agriculture and industries across the country, adding the situation in Balochistan was particularly very serious that could affect law and order and the economic corridor project.

“The water table in Balochistan is falling at a fast pace and immediate action should be taken before the situation worsens as half the population, in the under-developed province, depends on agriculture,” he added.

Rauf said the scarcity of water had increased the cost of agricultural and industrial production, which led to a rise in consumption of groundwater, putting an additional burden on the government in the form of subsidies for tube wells.

“Now our agriculture sector is satisfying 40% of its water requirement through tube wells which is not sustainable,” he said.

The FPCCI chief said Pakistan needed a dam like Tarbela every decade, but it was ignored, resulting in costly electricity that compromised the ability of export industries.

“Climate change is a bigger risk than water wastage and should get top priority,” he said, adding water security should be made part of the country’s foreign, domestic and economic policies.

“We should have a water policy, improved water diplomacy and new reservoirs built immediately, otherwise the water situation will worsen with each passing day.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2016.

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