Pakistan’s worsening water woes
THE almost drought-like situation in many parts of the country at the start of the Kharif sowing season is cause for serious alarm.
There is a tendency to treat such conditions with an air of resignation, as if we are totally helpless before the vagaries of nature; in fact, some people, in view of the scarce water available for our agrarian needs, start talking, reflexively, about building the Kalabagh dam.
Given that we are likely to face similar situations in the future, with weather patterns becoming more erratic, it is vital to move beyond these simple positions. Pakistan’s food security,
Black marketing of water is widespread across Sindh
as well as its industrial base, is largely built on the irrigation system bequeathed to us by the Americans, working through the World Bank in the wake of the Indus Waters Treaty.
Reports of widespread black marketing of water, which is pumped out illegally using pumps and then sold to farmers at a steep price, are widespread across Sindh. On top of this, there is the matter of poor water practices on farms, resulting in much wastage. Until these problems are adequately addressed, it would be futile to talk of Pakistan’s water crisis in terms of quantity alone.