“The future looks bleak if the government did not act soon,” said Dr Akmal Hussain, a senior economist, during a seminar on The Political Economy of Indus Waters at the Centre for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College on Thursday.
Hussain said communities surviving water scarcity, will require innovation and cooperation. South Asia, he said, was the region most vulnerable to climate change and must cooperate along the lines of the Indus Basin Water Treaty to ensure availability of water. He said even as 60 per cent of Pakistani population depended on agriculture for sustenance 70 per cent of the rural population was food insecure.
The plantation seasons relate to glacial melt from the Himalayas but that pattern too is shifting. The levels of mercury, lead and arsenic in our water have reached a point where they will lead to increased cases of breast cancer and bowed legs, he said.
He said Pakistan and India needed to cooperate on watershed management. He said Pakistan must improve its water use efficiency and prepare for possible famines by developing buffer food stocks.
“We have been locked into a gathering storm but our government has chosen to bury its head in the sand,” Dr Hussain said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.
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