ISLAMABAD: By the year 2025, Islamic countries are predicted to suffer an acute water shortage which will require intensified efforts for its prevention. Governments are advised to implement satellite technologies adopting all legal, economic, social and cultural aspects for achieving water security.
The issue of water shortage was discussed during the inaugural session of the “4th International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management” on Monday at a local hotel. The conference was organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in collaboration with SUPARCO, the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz International Prize Of Water (PSIPW), and the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology (ISNET).
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Speaking on the occasion, SUPARCO member Imran Iqbal shared findings of an international study, according to which by 2050 the per capita availability of water will reduce by half. This decline in water supply will have severe consequences for the region’s already stressed natural hydrological systems, he said.
“Some areas suffer an acute shortage of water, causing aridity and drought resulting in famine and hunger,” said Iqbal while reading out a statement on behalf of the Executive Director ISNET.
He said that more than 1.4 billion people in the developing countries have no access to clean and safe drinking water whereas, more than 450 million people are facing water shortage.
Federal Minister for Interior, and Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal told the participants that the objective of the conference is to promote the use of space technology applications in water management for benefitting developing countries as water is a lifeline for agriculture and economy in these countries.
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The minister said climate change will worsen the situation by increasing water stress. “It is also estimated that over the next 20 to 25 years, cities in developing countries will double and so will their demand for integrated approaches to managing water supply, water quality, sanitation, drainage and flood management,” he said.
Highlighting concern over water management, SUPARCO Chairman Qaiser Anees Khurrum said, “Water, being an element for sustaining life on the planet, has in fact itself become a huge sustainability issue. And the increasing stress on freshwater resources by the ever-rising demand and growing pollution worldwide is of serious concern.”
Over a 100 eminent scientists and scholars from various countries including Australia, China, USA and Canada participated in the five-day conference.