Punjab Prime Minister, Imran Khan has said that Pakistan is facing serious energy crisis due to which all sectors of life, including agriculture, industry and livestock, are being affected badly. He presided over a high level meeting with regard to the projects of generating energy in Punjab.
Planning of several water projects is under consideration, but not enough addition of water in water bodies is made, which had adversely affected Pakistan agriculture. Because of all the exhausting efforts, water available for crops is either stagnant or deteriorating. The political members and policy makers stated that the main reason for a dearth in water supplies was due to a decrease in the contribution by groundwater because of high diesel and electricity prices, and it put negative impact on agriculture. Furthermore, Temperature in soon is going up leading towards glacial melting, that we should use in agriculture through proper management.
The water crises in Pakistan is becoming less common with each passing day and increasing population along with climate changes had put us in alarming situation. Recently released report of International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that Pakistan is among those countries that are facing water shortage crises.
If we look at Pakistan’s water availability and usage condition, observers reveal that 96 percent of our water is being used in agriculture, while two percent for industrial and domestic sectors use. Surrounded by the domestic sector, 35 percent of the water supply is not included in the count. This usage also accounts for energy production and supply of said energy to the national grid.
If we talk about the energy contribution through water sources, Hydral power to the national grid is providing 29 percent.
About this contribution, majority of water is being provided by Tarbela Dam followed by Ghazi-Barotha Hydropower Project and Mangla Dam. Indus River provides the surface water resources of Pakistan which bring in about 138 million acre feet (MAF) of water annually. The Indus River alone provides 65% of the total river flows, while the share of Jhelum and Chenab is 17 and 19% respectively.
Studies conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the upcoming water challenges will go in front to negative impacts on our economy and social fabric industry.
These are because of depletion of forest resources that permanently leading to increased soil erosion, silting of reservoirs and increased variability of flows, depletion of surface storage capacities by silting and groundwater resources with sharply declining water table in Baluchistan, and high population growth rates and high rate of migrants towards urban centers.
Chief Justice and his colleagues started a campaign for dam fund raising, that is going to be remarkable achievement in history of Pakistan and it would make sentence in Guinness book.
Thus to improve productivity and sustain the economy of Pakistan in the long run, every political parties need to come on a single platform with a number of agenda points ahead of the upcoming energy crises. Firstly, these parties should make both water and energy key features of their proposal. In the manifesto, priority should be given to water and then energy.
Secondly, there is a need to bring a uniform policy at the national level also. To make this policy productive, there is also a need for harmony at the national level. Thirdly, there should be a forum with representatives from each province for implementation — including political and technical representatives.
These recommendations will not only improve the water situation across the country but will also help in curtailing the energy challenges.