Water Resource Management Conflicts: Evidences from Pakistan and Tunisia
Water is not however equally or even equitably distributed to every-one, but the gap between its demand and supply across the regions countries. In reality today millions of people live in a highly water-stressed environment, where demographic, economic, technological, social, political and environmental factors are major drivers affecting water scenarios. It is obvious that the attitudes towards water allocation and consumption vary across regions. In this regard the equation of sharing common pool resources like water between agriculture and other economic sectors have been discussed in many conventions, but led all communication and coordination ineffective due to; strong competition interests, lack of cooperation and lack of effective consultation mechanisms. Therefore, this article reviews about geopolitics as well as their impacts on rural development in the developing countries, especially in Pakistan (Indus delta region) and Tunisia (Cap Bon region). This will give us the macro picture of prevailing governance structures in the respected basins, which may help to formulate a suitable water management model.
Indus Delta (tail of Indus River in Pakistan) consists of 0.6 million hectares and fringing mangroves, which is characterized as wetland complex. The major economic activity of the Delta indigenous communities has followed by agriculture and livestock herding. In fact water resource in Pakistan is under great pressure, where its availability is not enough in the system to entertain the luxury of the existing projects on the Indus River system. Because of irregular Indus for human and animals, followed by agriculture and industry, while its other considerable uses including hydropower, tourism generation and environmental protection, etc. In order to overcome this water shortage the country has envisaged a Vision-2025 and planned numerous projects for construction without appropriate consultation of Sindh (lower stream and home of delta). Predictably, if the Vision-2025 is implemented, the water will no more be available in the Indus delta. According to the experts that this vision will create an imminent ecological disaster in the lower Indus basin that would eventually create a famine situation in the province, rather to prosperity. The Cap Bon (Tunisia) is characterized by its intense agricultural activities, which attract large industrial and tourist activities. Thus water resources of Cap Bon derived primarily from groundwater, especially on the eastern of total) and in the plains of Grombalia
(20 percent of potential), while the rest is contributed from El Haouaria where most important watersheds are located from south west to north east, i.e., Mornaguia, Laabid, Zogag and Mgaïz valleys respectively. In order to meet increasing demand of water by different economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, industry as well as domestic use) the state has built dozen of dams, water reservoirs and also implemented an but all seemed to reaching their limits.
In fact, over past year the consumption of water for domestic use has been increased about 6 percent. It is also estimated that the population of the city of Hammamet (largest tourist destination in Cap Bon), will reach about almost double in 2020, which need basic amenities including water almost double or may be more. Obviously it will leave reduced area of irrigated farmland and might leave a question mark on food sustainability.
GEOPOLITICS: PAKISTAN AND TUNISIA
It is noticed that socioeconomic, political, environmental characteristics and the climatic conditions are quite different, but in both countries agriculture is the main water consumer (80 percent in Tunisia and more than 80 percent in Pakistan). other sectors regarding their governance system and strategies, e.g., in Pakistan, industrial sector is second largest water consumer, after domestic and tourism sector is second largest water consumer, followed by industrial sector and domestic uses. In Tunisia, tourism and industrial sectors are considered as a major focus of development policy and land use planning. Those two sectors are water use should not be limited. It is for this reason that management strategies aimed at rationalizing the use of natural resources especially the agriculture which consumes a lot of water. On the other hand, in the Pakistan, despite of existence of numerous natural there is no proper policy and strategy to encourage the tourism sector. Unfortunately, the development of dams in upper stream led negative impacts on ecosystem especially degradation of decline in agriculture because, which and mismanagement of the resource. As results, majority of the population move to other areas and even changed their lifestyle, since the degradation of Delta has begun.
In Cap Bon, majority of farmers have recognized that they are suffering from people resided between lagoon and urban surroundings, which has lowered economic earning of local population; because unavailability of to rent the loges. A local person has reported that there is a failure in storage system that was designed to ensure water supply from shallow wells. The state interventions (establishment of protection perimeter, groundwater to solve the problem of farmers who complain about pollution (discharge of sewage in the lagoon), the position of adjacent lagoons and of persons who are operating in these areas lack of information, dialogue and communication between farmers and the government led to the creation of the sustainable management of water resource. Therefore, like Pakistan the Tunisia is also suffering from weak governance system. Since 1970s in Tunisian government has opted policy of major hydraulic works aiming to store maximum water by building dams and distribute water from north achieve a real interconnection at the national level. However, this policy has many shortcomings, e.g., state had acted for more than two decades without participation and aspirations of in the management and use of water and it’s recycling (waste of large amount of water) as well as lower participatory management (due to low levels of education, lack of awareness of of these development projects.
On the other hands, Indus delta the economic contribution and landscape attractions are being suffered from current water supply management practices. Thus in general, water shortage is affecting economic activities and in particular bellow recommended escape has allowed seawater intrusion. Therefore it is recommended that in case of Pakistan any further upstream development of storage (water reservoir) must be preceded by a full economic and environmental assessment, otherwise the country will suffer from manmade draught like situations. In parallel, we risk as biotic potential of many species is starting to be diminished and many of them may be lost forever. Similarly in the Cap Bon, due to management failure the local population is using brackish water to their farm lands; resultantly the regional soil is becoming more saline. However, other water consuming sectors like tourisms should be promoted along with the coasts of Cap Bon and Indus delta. In general the coastal zones with contemporary and patrimonial landscapes might not only generate employment opportunities, but also contribute in national economy.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT
Based on the experiences it is highly recommended that public authorities needed to reformulate their governance structure at regional to national scales as well as to make aware the local population about regional economic viability with all economic activities. In this regard the pursuit of a single increase in capital costs, competition between water users and worsening environmental problems. Thus, pursuing the mobilization of available water resource (not only in the case study zones but also in the developing
countries which are facing similar fates), we have formulated a new management strategy, which comprised on three key pillars, which may be seem through following table: This model can help policy designers in their decision support capabilities how to maintain economic development and to meet the increasing demands as well as it can also help to valuate this liquid resource at farm-gate level. It is also proposed that to aware farmers for on-farm small scale water storages, which might be helpful during draught seasons. Additionally, for long term suggested that to motivate indigenous population for crop rotations from high to low water intense crops and to considerable reuse of sewerage water for farm irrigation, urban green spaces and tourist units, where government has to provide extension services, in order to avoid negative impacts of waste water on the health of farm households. The demand for water resource management is then a principal axis of the water policy in the future to control consumption in various sectors, especially the agriculture, a major water consumer, and delay as long as possible due to the use of non-conventional water resources (treatment of desalinated and wastewater). The preservation and sustainability of water infrastructures are now a primary concern in the developing countries. Such countries have initiated the services based on public-private partnership in association with the World Bank to implement a delegated management of water resource at large-scale. However, their efforts on supply management are reaching limits both physically and economically, as we see from our case studies from Pakistan and Tunisia.
Although both the economies have different water management practices and mechanisms for their precious natural resource, but are similarly lumping along the pace of development with governance failures. We must think about setting up a more effective policy framework, a more organized social and political climate and more favorable economic conditions for water supply and management in a sustainable manner. The implementation of economic and environmental assessment is policy concern issue and will require a framework of integrated water management in which future development will have to consider the environment as stakeholder and it should be key factor during key strategy decision and actions. In this regard a strong geopolitical force for implementation of the new water management practices may bring back the livelihood of the indigenous population in the similar fats of Pakistan and Tunisia.