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Water scarcity making country a wasteland

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News Analysis |

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the scarcity of water is transforming the country into a desert which requires the immediate attention of the government.

A country dependent on agriculture has framed its first National Water Policy after seventy long years while the provinces like Punjab and Sindh have yet to announce their water policies, it said.

Water scarcity has been felt across the country but nobody seems concerned about water management to reduce its wastage, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The Pakistan Economy Watch encouraged the government to invest in dams and formulate an effective water policy to overcome the water scarcity in the country.

He said that per capita availability of water in Pakistan stood at 5,260 cubic metres in 1951 which was reduced to 1000 cubic meters by 2016 and it is likely to further drop to about 860 by 2025 which will be a doomsday scenario for the country.

Read more: Water scarcity in Pakistan

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the Indus River system receives an annual influx of about 134.8 million acre-feet (MAF) of water of which water worth sixty billion dollars is wasted.

Reduced supply and increased demand has forced people, mostly farmers, to extract around 50 million acre-feet of groundwater which is unsustainable, he said.

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the scarcity of water is transforming the country into a desert which requires the immediate attention of the government.

Around ninety-five percent of the available water is utilized by the agricultural sector where a major chunk is wasted by water-intensive crops of sugarcane and rice. The area under cultivation for water and rice continue to increase which should be seen as a threat, he demanded.

Read more: Muslim countries to face severe water scarcity by 2025

Dr. Mughal said that government should discourage sugarcane and rice crops by diverting farmers to other crops as Pakistan use more than double water as compared to other Asian countries to get one kilogram of rice while its uses 1500 to 3000 liters of water to get one kilogram of sugar.

The Pakistan Economy Watch encouraged the government to invest in dams and formulate an effective water policy to overcome the water scarcity in the country. It also encouraged the media to educate the people on the proper usage of water.

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