Pakistan is a developing country where sooner or later water scarcity issues will prevail throughout the country if more dams are not constructed. International Commission on Large Dams has reported that Pakistan has 150 water reservoirs. These water reservoirs are 15m in height. The largest dam in Pakistan is Tarbela Dam. It is an earth-filled dam nearby the Indus River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a reservoir capacity of 11,098,000 acre-feet. Tarbela Lake is the reservoir of Tarbela Dam.
However, Pakistan does not have sufficient water storage capacity for the future. Check out Water Crisis in Pakistan- Current and Future
Ongoing Situation in Pakistan
The ongoing situation in Pakistan can be evaluated as Pakistan has 10% water storage capacity; the source is Indus River System while the average in the world is 40%. The storage capacities in reservoirs are decreasing due to sedimentation and siltation of Dams. Approximately a quarter of storage capacity has been reduced in dams.
The storage capacity provided by the largest Indus River in Pakistan is averaging at 137 million acre-feet. The storage capacity of the longest river Nile is much higher. The average annual flow rate in the Indus River is higher than the Nile but the Nile has 132 million acre-feet usable storage capacity. The difference is due to water management strategies.
World Bank published a report in 2019 stating that Pakistan is getting more water. Almost 80% of water is being used in the agriculture sector while its contribution to FDP is up to 5%. The economy is losing $12 billion annually due to the lack of water management strategies. Currently, Pakistan has a water storage capacity of 30 days, while the US has 900 days, Egypt 700 days, and India 170 days. The least water storage capacity of any country should be 120 days and Pakistan is not meeting or even close to this criteria.
Pakistan is facing political challenges when it comes to the construction of dams. Climate change is playing its role too. But the fact is if more dams are not constructed to increase water storage capacity, water scarcity in Pakistan will cause extreme damage to the agriculture sector. The industrial sector that works on food will also experience the damage caused by water scarcity. Hunger and unemployment will prevail in the country.
Pakistan can save water for up to 10 days only while the United States has 900 days water storage capacity. The economic situation in Pakistan is not good. The economic disaster in the country is led by many factors including increasing population, inadequate dams, poor irrigational practices, etc. If these situations are not given attention the outcome will be an increased burden on the economy as well as water scarcity issues.
Dams should be constructed as soon as possible to overcome water shortage problems leading to water scarcity. The Government of Pakistan should work on the irrigational system in the country. The old water-wasting irrigational practices need to be changed. The wastewater being generated in urban areas should be managed efficiently. And Pakistan should revise water policies and launch new strategies for conserving water.
Also, check out Balochistan Could Suffer Aridity Due to Insufficient Dams
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist