LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has shown grave concern on severe water scarcity in the biggest dams of the country and said that this crisis would directly hit the agriculture and power sectors of the country,
In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that Pakistan is an agrarian country and cannot afford water dearth at any cost but unfortunately no strategy has been evolved to take this major issue. He said that country is dependent on only two big dams including Tarbela and Mangla. It is a matter of concern that water storage capacity of the two dams has been reduced significantly and situation would be more concerning with the passage of time.
“Lack of storage reservoirs and wastage are the biggest reasons of terrible water shortage in the country. Ongoing water crisis is a result of putting Kalabagh Dam into dispute while around 12 millions acre feet water wasted to sea during 2016-17 that is equal to the capacity of two big-dams”, the LCCI office-bearers said.
They said that Pakistan can hardly escape from becoming a big desert, unless drastic measures are taken instantly. They said that sufficient availability of water is must for sustainable development but in Pakistan per capita availability of water was decreasing because we have water but not enough reservoirs for storage.
The LCCI office-bearers said that with every passing year, Pakistan is getting close to the brink of mass starvation because of a drastic cut in water availability from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in 1950s to 1000 cubic meters.
They said that as per World Bank analysis, our storage capacity has gone down to 150 acre feet. India has improved its per capita storage up to 200 acre feet which will get further better once under-construction dams start operating.
They said that these facts call for establishing water reservoirs in the whole country which will enhance the capacity of water storage. They said that the same reservoirs will come handy in case of low and medium floods.
The LCCI office-bearers said that after every two to three years we have to face emergency situation due to floods in Pakistan that adversely affect our economy and push us back many years.
They said that Pakistan’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture sector. This sector engages almost 45% of our work force. They said that our leading manufacturing sector is textiles, which gets basic input from agriculture. Without water, there is no survival of agriculture.
They said that government has to take steps for the water conservation and its effective use. They said that the efficient use of water through water conservation will reduce the capital and operational costs leading to economic stability and growth.
The LCCI office-bearers said that there is no second opinion on it that most of the challenges we are facing today are the result of poor planning done to manage the water resources. It is said that it never too late to mend. If we come up with a joint strategy on water conservation, we can evade severe or may be insurmountable challenges of future.