Water issues

Water issues

“The looming threat of water scarcity is an issue that is rarely talked about in Pakistani politics, and yet it constitutes one of the biggest challenges to Pakistan’s survival. With a projected population of 263 million in the year 2050 (United Nations 2012), Pakistan needs to put serious thought into how it will provide adequate water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption in the face of rapidly dwindling reserves. The Himalayan glacier, whose ice melt replenishes the Indus River’s annual freshwater, is receding by about one meter – the approximate equivalent of 3.3 feet – per year due to global warming (Kamal 29). This phenomena has had a staggering impact on Pakistan’s water availability. In just 1950, Pakistan had around 5,000 m3 per capita per year of freshwater resources. In 2002, its supplies shrunk to only 1,500 m3. To put that number in perspective, around 1,000 m3 is when a country is declared water scarce (Kugelman 5).

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s water woes do not end with just scarcity. The War on Terror, as well as the 2010 flood, has displaced two million people from Pakistan’s countryside, many of whom have flocked to urban centers such as Karachi. As a result, Pakistan must also increase water availability and sanitation in urban centers to accommodate this massive influx of people, in addition to tackling its water scarcity issue. One figure states that around 40-55 million Pakistanis do not have regular access to drinking water and around 630 Pakistani children die each day to the waterborne illness of diarrhea (Kugelman 6).”