Pakistan could become region's most water-stressed country by 2040: report

Published: August 31, 2015
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The water stress for domestic consumers in Pakistan to rise from 4.01 in 2020 to 4.23 in 2040. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

The water stress for domestic consumers in Pakistan to rise from 4.01 in 2020 to 4.23 in 2040. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

The water stress for domestic consumers in Pakistan to rise from 4.01 in 2020 to 4.23 in 2040. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS Pakistan is predicted to be the most water stressed country in the region by the year 2040 PHOTO: INP

With Pakistan failing to improve water governance and taking measures to save rapidly-depleting water resources, climate change coupled with rapid urbanisation and population growth would further impact the availability of water, making it one of the most water-stressed countries of the world.

According to the data released by the World Resources Institute (WRI), which defines water stress as the ratio between total water withdrawals and available renewable surface water at a sub-catchment level, Pakistan is predicted to be the most water stressed country in the region by the year 2040.

The report, which scores every country on the scale of zero to five, with the higher number representing the most water-stressed, stated by 2040 Pakistan would be 23rd most water-stressed country in the world with an average score of 4.48, unless it changes its ways and works on water conservation.

Read: Rapid groundwater depletion threatens Pakistan food security: officials

Pakistan’s ranking is projected to improve over the years from 18 in 2020 to 23 in 2040; however, it should not be taken as a sign of improvement as Pakistan’s average score would increase 0.15 from 4.33 in 2020 to 4.48 in 2040. The improvement in ranking is likely due to more deteriorating situation in countries like Azerbaijan, Armenia and Iraq.

 

Among the three sectors identified by the report, namely industrial, domestic and agriculture, the worst to be affected is agriculture. The competition for use of water faced by those engaged in agricultural activities is expected to rise from 4.35 to 4.50, while water stress for domestic consumers would rise from 4.01 in 2020 to 4.23 in 2040.

On the contrary, the water stress situation is likely to improve slightly in India. The report predicts that water stress being faced by Indians is likely to drop from 3.70 in 2020 to 3.61 by 2040.

Middle East to be worst-affected

The WRI’s report said that the Middle East, which is already the least water-secured region in the world, would face exceptional water-related challenges for the foreseeable future as 14 of the 33 most likely water-stressed countries in 2040 are in the Middle East, including nine of which are considered extremely highly stressed with a score of 5.0 out of 5.0. These are Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon.

DESIGN: NABEEL AHMAD

While drought and water shortage contributed to the Syrian civil war, as depleting water resources and mismanagement forced 1.5 million people to migrate from their land, water scarcity is highly likely to further escalate the Israel-Palestine conflict as well.

Read: First water management policy on the cards

Quoting the Saudi Arabian government, the report said from 2016 onwards, the Kingdom will rely on grain imports for domestic use due to fear of a further depletion of water resources.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Pops
    Aug 31, 2015 - 7:03PM

    Perhaps your deeper than mountains friend can send you some water along the CPEC route.Recommend

  • Layman
    Aug 31, 2015 - 9:16PM

    @Pops, why are you popping like a corn from Pak China friendship, we know that you guys are not that worried for water shortage in your country as 70 percent Indians don’t have toilets which would never leave you guys with water shortage..Recommend

  • Point
    Aug 31, 2015 - 11:23PM

    @Pops:
    Please STOP your obsession with Pakistan for at least a day!! God these indians have nothing else to do in life. So lifeless people. GO and dip in your holy water maybe then your brain will start functioning properly unless its super dirty with filthRecommend

  • SNKN
    Sep 1, 2015 - 12:12AM

    Thank you @Layman and @Point for so aptly describing the India water situation so aptly… they don’t use toilets and hardly bathe, so their dirty habits may put them in a slightly better stead. Lack of hygiene is partly why we wanted a separate homeland…

    We need to put severe collective pressure on our governments to start addressing the water storage and reservoir capacity issues on accelerated and high priority basis. Recommend

  • Pops
    Sep 1, 2015 - 12:24AM

    @Layman:
    You guys are terrible at maths, really must pay attention in school.
    The percentages keep going up instead of down.

    @Piont.
    Sore Point.Recommend

  • Sam
    Sep 1, 2015 - 1:49AM

    No problem ! By 2040, all the ice caps would have melted making the ocean water sweet. Then we shall drink to our hearts content.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Sep 1, 2015 - 7:25AM

    Most of the country in the list are in middle east along with Pakistan. It just proves that Pakistanis are Arabs.Recommend

  • Ravi
    Sep 1, 2015 - 7:57AM

    So what if Pakistan ends up being the most water-stressed country by 2040. At least she will have surpassed India in the number of nuclear weapons in her arsenal. And, that’s what matters most to the Pakistanis. Recommend

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