Lahore chamber says new dams, reservoirs indispensable
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday termed dead-level of water in dams alarming and said that the country would be facing irreparable loss if new water reservoirs/dams were not built.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said here that water storage capacity had gone down horribly and all those were responsible, who were opposing the important water and power projects. Pakistan is an agrarian economy and it cannot afford water dearth at any cost. But unfortunately, no strategy has been evolved to resolve the issue, he added.
Malik said that country dependent on only two big dams including Tarbela and Mangla and it was a matter of concern that water storage capacity of the two dams had been reduced significantly and the situation would be more concerning with the passage of time.
“Lack of reservoirs and water wastage are the biggest reasons for terrible water shortage in the country. Ongoing water crisis was a result of putting Kalabagh Dam into a dispute while previous year, around 12 million acre-feet water wasted to sea that is equal to the capacity of two big-dams,” he maintained.
Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan could hardly escape from becoming a desert unless drastic measures were taken instantly. He said that sufficient availability of water was must for sustainable development but in Pakistan, the per capita availability of water was decreasing because we have water but not enough reservoirs for storage.
With every passing year, Pakistan was getting close to the brink of mass starvation because of a drastic cut in water availability from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in the 1950s to 1000 cubic meters today, he said and mentioned, “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,” he maintained.
Lahore Chamber’s President said that these facts called for establishing water reservoirs in the whole country which would enhance the capacity of water storage and the same reservoirs would come handy in case of low and medium floods.
He said, “After every two to three years, we face an emergency situation due to floods in Pakistan that adversely affect our economy and push us many years back. Pakistan’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture sector that engages almost 45 per cent of our workforce. Our leading manufacturing sector is textiles, which gets basic input from agriculture. Without water, there is no survival of agriculture.”
LCCI President said that government had to take steps for the water conservation and its effective use. Efficient use of water through water conservation would reduce capital and operational costs leading to economic stability and growth, he opined.
He said, “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 severely or may be insurmountable challenges of future.”