‘Groundwater depletion outcome of misplaced priorities’

Published: September 27, 2019
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Groundwater depletion is the outcome of the misplaced priorities and policies of the previous governments. This was said by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. He said this while chairing a meeting on Recharge Pakistan and groundwater depletion at the Ministry of Climate Change.

However, the present government has kicked off a national policy initiative to boost groundwater recharge through enhanced conservation, water harvesting in all forms including rainwater harvesting, reducing groundwater mining for all purposes through coordinated efforts with provincial governments, he said.

A groundwater recharge initiative titled, ‘Recharge Pakistan’ is one of the five components of the present government’s vision of Clean Green Pakistan. With the help of partners, water from floods and rain will be used to recharge underground aquifers. He said that their government would protect and recharge the fourth largest freshwater aquifers of the world for the future generations.

Moreover, during the meeting, Pakistan Council for Research and Water Recharge (PCRWR) presented its findings in a presentation. Representatives of PCRWR told that they had established their offices all across the country having seven regional and 18 sub-regional offices. Organisation told that they were conducting their work keeping in mind Pakistan Water Vision 2025, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Water Policy, 2018 and National Water Research Agenda 2016-2025.

The minister was told that Pakistan’s fresh water was depleting quickly because of unregulated pumping. Ninety-three percent of pumped water was being used for agricultural purposes while 90% of the drinking water and almost all the industrial water was being extracted from ground sources. Forty percent of cultivable land in Pakistan was Barani land while government’s policies towards arid agriculture had further aggravated the situation.

Aslam advised the organisation to come up with solution especially for water management, rainwater harvesting and improving water quality. The organisation informed the adviser that they had done a laborious job in developing freshwater maps for the whole country at the depth of 1-50 meters and 51-100 meters. They also apprised that they were using a NASA developed technology called GRACE for this purpose. Utilising said technology would make real time monitoring of the underground fresh water aquifers possible.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2019.

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