Pakistan is facing the greatest water crisis in its history. Where experts have alarmed the state holders that by around 2025 the water availability is going to be almost none if no serious measures are taken for its conservation. If water was sustainably managed by our authorities in the past, we wouldn’t have been standing on the edge where we are now.
For coping with the loss we have done so far and to manage the present situation we have to think smartly and to act furiously. While doing so, we also have to keep in touch with our neighboring situation because of the co-riparian rival state India, as India is capable of blocking the flow of water channels that are entering in Pakistan from the Tibet side and on the other way around opening its reservoir gates in case of heavy raindrops.
Hence, resulting in heavy flooding like the one we faced in 2010. Along with that, there will be many interior and economic factors that are going to be dealt with by the government on its way to stabilizing this alarming water crisis situation.
The far most reasonable and long-lasting solution for a developing country Pakistan is to build new productive dams and on the other hand utilizing the existing dams fruitfully and efficiently, for storing and conserving the water.
Many countries, nowadays are launching projects for multipurpose dams as they are very productive because the population receives domestic and economic benefits from a single investment. And the water needs are accommodated by them as well.
Dams In Pakistan
There are only 180+ large and small dams existing in Pakistan. In which there are about 150 dams and reservoirs that are included in the “large dams” category according to the ICOLD (International Commission on Large Dams).
We have the largest earth-filled dam and second-largest by its structural volume, Tarbela, along with that we also have the largest dam in the world in terms of volume namely Mirani dam which was constructed especially for flood protection and for irrigation of around 13,400 ha of land in Kech Valley while Sabakzai dam is 7th largest dam of the world in its volume. District Chakwal has a total of 13 small dams.
These dams even though they have this much capacities, are not even sufficient to fulfill the needs of half of the population of the country. Along with that, we are also facing drastic groundwater table falling. Which is not only present in small cities but also in metropolitan cities like Lahore. The situation of Thar and most of the cities of Sindh is far more adverse, as they are facing droughts.
So, it’s the need that the government should make policies and work to manage this water scarcity efficiently by using these operational dams. So that the drought areas can be reliefs.
4 dams in KPK are under construction at the time being which will eventually help in storing and conserving the water and contribute to lessening the risk of scarcity. They will be going to conserve the water in the future, when they become operational, which we throw in the Indian ocean without getting benefits from it.
About 10 dams are being proposed by the government to be constructed in the near future. As they will lend a hand in coping with the water scarcity. Around 5 dams are proposed to be constructed in Baluchistan, 2 in Gilgit Baltistan, 3 in KPK and 2 in Punjab.
Need for New Dams
We urgently need new dams because our current water storage capacity is far below an average state along with that, we are the 6th largest populated state in the world.
Like the Federal Secretary Ministry of Energy, Power Division, Yousaf Naseem Khokhar said:
The country needs to establish sufficient water storage reservoirs because Pakistan’s current water storage capacity of 10% is far below the global water storage capacity of 40%.
Making new dams is very necessary and the only solution for reducing the crisis because we are far beyond in a range of controlling it even by constructing new dams because we have less time and unfavorable economic conditions to cope up.
As one can say how can we, an underdeveloped, poor state which is already stranded in its past loans, are able to build these megaproject dams, Well, IMF and World Bank come in the field to offer a helping hand by providing loans. Not only this, but we can also use our diplomacy policies and our foreign relationships, like the current government is doing, with rich Muslim states like Arabs for loans or brotherly help. On the other hand, people can also do the funding for these mega project’s completion, like the one launched under the supervision of Chief Justice of Pakistan where people are giving funds, which is a healthy activity and give a hand in a new dam’s construction.
Despite all of these issues which I have discussed above, the most significant in the contemporary period is the solution to the current water crisis which is an alarming situation to counter. Even constructing dams are difficult for a developing state because many factors have to be taken into account before ahead but it’s one of the many choices that are left for a developing state like Pakistan which has to face this intense alarming water crisis situation to adopt for its reservoirs fueling.
Hence, there is a need for Pakistan to take really significant steps on water resource management and to work upon its water-conserving and store policies. And all of this management should be done in a way that will be sufficient enough for fulfilling the dense population needs.