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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Pakistan must Build New Dams & Water Storages to Curb Water Inefficiency: Zartaj Gul Wazir

Addressing the Media Awareness Workshop on Water Crisis, jointly conducted by Nestle Pakistan and LEAD Pakistan, Zartaj Gul Wazir stressed on the need to establish water storage facilities to eliminate water inefficiency and storage issues.

News Desk |

Zartaj Gul Wazir, Minister of State for Climate Change, has said that the former governments failed to address the issue of water scarcity and water shortage with scrutiny, and had they taken the issue seriously, Pakistan would not be facing the threats of floods stirred by India today.

Media Awareness Workshop on Water Crisis

Zartaj Gul Wazir was addressing a Media Awareness Workshop on Water Crisis, jointly organized by LEAD Pakistan and Nestle, on the occasion of the World Water Week. The Minister of State for Climate Change noted that former governments continued to make statements while India worked strategically and constructed dams on the water flowing into Pakistan.

Zartaj Gul stated, “When they (India) were making dams on our water reservoirs, the political governments were sleeping in Pakistan. Perhaps, our water experts and researchers attempted to wake up Pakistan, but our political governments failed to effectively play their role.”

She observed that Pakistan ranks among the most water stressed nations, and it is struggling to contain a great many factors that induce water scarcity, including the rapid pace of urbanization, industrialization, the hazards of climate change and the alterations in precipitation.

Nestle Pakistan has entered a joint venture with the government, supported by the communities of farmers and academicians, under the banner of “Caring for Water”.

She noted that given the urgency of Pakistan’s water scarcity and storage issues, the PTI-led government has separated the Ministry of Water from the Ministry of Energy. She added, “We have felt this sensitivity on the issue of water scarcity, which is why we have separated the Ministry of Water from the Ministry of Energy.”

The Minister of State for Climate Change added that the construction of dams has emerged as a sensitive issue and politicians are not willing to address this urgent matter. Addressing the issue of the construction of some dams across Pakistan, she highlighted the rhetoric that “Pakistan will fall apart” and questioned, “Can someone explain how the construction of a dam can cause a country to fall apart?”

She observed that the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty is crucial to ensure the survival of Pakistan, ease the water issue and the government will have to ensure that the Indus Water Treaty is implemented in all its entirety.

The Minister for Climate Change observed that there is an urgent need for developing a code of conduct to be followed across Pakistan on the usage of water. She mentioned that the Ministry of Climate Change has developed a summary on this matter, which has been shared with concerned provincial departments.

Read more: Pakistan’s Peculiar Water Scarcity: Role of the Private Sector

Zartaj Gul Wazir noted that the media has an instrumental role to play in highlighting the voices of government officials, civil society members and the general public. She urged the media to connect politicians and water experts with the ordinary people who are struggling with the challenges of water scarcity.

Pakistan Struggling to Curb Water Wastage

A report published by the World Bank, titled “Pakistan: Getting More from Water” stated that despite being “well-endowed with water” Pakistan struggles to increase water availability per person. The report noted, “Water wastage is high and agricultural yields are low compared to most countries.”

The report observed that while trans-boundary issues and climate change hazards are a significant challenge to Pakistan’s water sector, “the greatest challenges and opportunities are internal, not external, to Pakistan.”

The World Bank’s analysis, published in February 2019, observed that “improving water use efficiency and productivity, delivery of water services in cities and in irrigation, and addressing environmental sustainability are the most pressing needs.”

Read more: The water quest: In search of a solution to alarming scarcity

Multiple organizations from the private sector have stepped forward to join hands with the government and launch initiatives to curb Pakistan’s water inefficiency. Nestle Pakistan has entered a joint venture with the government, supported by the communities of farmers and academicians, under the banner of “Caring for Water”.

Nestle Pakistan has launched a remarkable initiative towards water stewardship, and their campaign for Drip Irrigation is certainly worth mentioning for its perceived advantages to curb the water losses in agriculture due to the flawed irrigation practices. The Drip Irrigation initiative is estimated to help save around 40-50% water as compared to traditional flood irrigation techniques.