KARACHI: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has expressed grave concern over depletion of water resources fearing that it can transform Pakistan into a desert.
According to a release issued from Islamabad on Thursday, water scarcity is emerging as biggest threat to Pakistan which will lay waste to our fertile lands turning them into arid zones compounding food security situation, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, President ICCI. He said that glaciers are melting while rivers are drying leaving many to rely on ground water which has been reducing the water table which is a grave threat.
Government should immediately move to settle disputes over dams without which future of the country seems bleak as demand and supply gap for water has reached alarming levels, he added. Atif Ikram Sheikh said that climate change, decreasing glaciers and forests and well as water aggression by a neighbouring country has been depleting groundwater in almost all the parts of the country.
He said that different areas have been witnessing reduction in water table which has increased the cost of pumping water through tube wells making life difficult for farmers. He said that scarcity of water is to hurt entire agricultural chain creating problems like unemployment, food security and closure of industries.
Almost 145 million acre feet (MAF) water passes annually through country of which only 14 MAF could be stored enough for one month while international standard stood at 90 days of storage. Country’s population would be 250 million by 2025, demand for water would be at 338 billion cubic meter while availability would be 236 BCM creating many challenges.
Government should try to stop water theft, introduce new verities of seed requiring less water, train farmers to use less water and make reservoirs to store floodwater which will improve water table, said Sheikh.