Food autarky comes with new dams and reservoirs

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has an abundance of water resources, but they are depleting apace. It’s high time for the country to preserve these precious resources for future generations.

“The global environment is changing rapidly as a result of human indulgence and exploitation of nature. Owing to this, the water resources are gradually depleting,” said Deputy Director of Pakistan Council of Research and Water Reservoirs (PCRWR) Miss Saiqa Imran while talking to WealthPK.

“As an agricultural country, Pakistan heavily relies on water for food production, irrigation, and other daily activities. Almost 90 percent of its agricultural output comes from irrigated lands,” she said.

“There is a huge impact of water scarcity on food production. Owing to the exponential population growth, the food demand is also increasing and the country is running out of water to feed a growing population. Water scarcity in Sindh, which is the final user, is more severe,’’ said Saiqa.

“Crops and livestock need water to grow. In the absence of water, people are incapable of watering their crops. As a result, the rapidly growing population cannot be fed. With the increasing population and rapid industrialization, the demand for water is rising. It is high time for the government to take necessary steps to secure water resources for the future generations.”

“There are several ways through which Pakistan can secure its water resources. The government should construct new dams and reservoirs to increase water storage capacity. Construction of dams and reservoirs will not only help conserve water but also control floods and provide water for irrigation and hydropower generation,” the PCRWR deputy director said.

“The government also needs to promote the use of efficient irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler systems to reduce the wastage of water in agriculture. Water conservation efforts can be increased through rainwater harvesting, and groundwater recharge. Moreover, the government should enforce laws to prevent the pollution of water sources. Discharge of industrial and domestic waste in rivers and lakes should be strictly prohibited,” she said.

Saiqa suggested that the government should also launch awareness campaigns to educate the people about the importance of water conservation.

She said the Ministry of Water and Power should also work on developing new water treatment plants and upgrading the existing ones to provide safe and clean water to the people.