Pakistan to face severe water scarcity in near future, warns Wapda chairman
Water & Power Development Authority Chairman Lieutenant General (R) Muzammil Hussain has alarmed about the extreme scarcity of water in the country in the near future.
While talking on 10 Tak programme of 24News HD TV channel on Friday, the Wapda chairman said that there would be an acute shortage of water in the near future as the country would get only 1 million acre-feet instead of 6 million acre-feet water. He said only 13 million acre-feet water was stored instead of 140 million acre-feet. He also termed the agreements with IPPs a disaster.
Earlier last month in a briefing to a delegation of the National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad, the Wapda chief had told that a more integrated mechanism was needed to harness water resources across the country to attain water, food, and energy security. He said that Wapda had been constructing as many as eight mega projects including Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam, and Dasu to improve the water situation in the country and increase the share of low-cost and environment-friendly hydropower in the National Grid. These projects, scheduled to be completed one by one from 2022 to 2028-29, would cumulatively add 11 million acre-feet to gross water storage capacity, mitigate floods, irrigate 1.6 million acres of land, and generate 9000 megawatt of hydel electricity.
Wapda chief said that per capita water availability in the country has come down from 5650 cubic meters in 1951 to an alarming level of 908 cubic meters per annum, pushing us to the stage of a water-scarce country.
Experts say that amid the rising population and climate change, the availability of freshwater is becoming worrisome in Pakistan, which may face absolute water scarcity by 2040. According to the Washington-based magazine, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has placed Pakistan at third position in the list of countries facing acute water shortages. Moreover, the per capita availability of fresh water in Pakistan has fallen below the water scarcity threshold (1,000 cubic meters), which was 3,950 cubic meters in 1961 and 1600 in 1991. Many experts fear that the per capita availability of fresh water in Pakistan will further decline to 860 cubic meters by 2025 and the country may reach absolute water scarcity by 2040. The decline can also be attributed to the rising population, as, for instance, the population has increased from 46 million in 1961 to over 200 million today.