Pakistan in red zone as water resources decline

Experts call for adopting modern water saving methods.

Shamsul Islam March 11, 2012
Pakistan in red zone as water resources decline


Adoption of modern water conservation methods and agricultural practices is imperative to cope with water scarcity as Pakistan has been placed in red zone due to low per capita water availability at 1,000 cubic metres.

These were the views of speakers who addressed a seminar titled “Remote sensing and hydrological modelling for irrigation water management”, organised by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage and Water Management Research Centre, University of Agriculture Faisalabad on Saturday.

University Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said Pakistan was on the verge of water scarcity and should take extra measures to fight the challenge by creating awareness. In 2050, he said, the water situation would be alarming with per capita water availability at 550 cubic metres.

India has 1,600 cubic metres of water per person per year while major European countries have up to twice as much ranging from 2,300 cubic metres in Germany to 3,000 cubic metres in France. Ahmad said remote sensing could help get important data on crop production and irrigation needs.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2012.


Cautious | 12 years ago | Reply

Maybe you should have your American aid directed at finally fixing this issue -- Pakistan is a land of extremes - often too much water and often not enough water - all this can be fixed with dams, reservoirs, and $'s. Fix this issue and you will increase energy and your agri business will boom.

Riaz Haq | 12 years ago | Reply

In addition to the development of new water reservoirs, serious conservation steps need to be taken to improve the efficiency of water use in Pakistani agriculture which claims almost all of the available fresh water resources. A California study recently found that water use efficiency ranged from 60%-85% for surface irrigation to 70%-90% for sprinkler irrigation and 88%-90% for drip irrigation. Potential savings would be even higher if the technology switch were combined with more precise irrigation scheduling and a partial shift from lower-value, water-intensive crops to higher-value, more water-efficient crops. Rather than flood irrigation used in Pakistani agriculture, there is a need to explore the use of drip or spray irrigation to make better use of nation's scarce water resources before it is too late. As a first step toward improving efficiency, Pakistan government has launched a 1.3 billion U.S. dollar drip irrigation program that could help reduce water waste over the next five years. Early results are encouraging. "We installed a model drip irrigation system here that was used to irrigate cotton and the experiment was highly successful. The cotton yield with drip irrigation ranged 1,520 kg to 1,680 kg per acre compared to 960 kg from the traditional flood irrigation method," according to Wajid Ishaq, a junior scientist at the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB).

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