ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Monday called upon the government to focus on the construction of more dams, especially in flood-prone areas that will help in coping with flash floods and generating cheap energy.
ICCI president Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, said in a statement that once again the devastating floods due to recent rains have highlighted the urgent need of constructing more dams and water reservoirs in the country.
He said due to lack of dams and water reservoirs, Pakistan has suffered huge losses in terms of death of hundreds of people, damage to infrastructure and destruction of huge areas of crops.
He said the 2010 floods alone had cost the economy around $10 billion and displaced 20 million people while this year’s floods are estimated to cause significant cut in development budget to cope with flood situation and cause 1 percent reduction in GDP growth.
He said the World Bank has also estimated Pakistan’s economic losses in excess of $18bn because of natural disasters in the last one decade. Another study shows that Pakistan’s economy is facing annual loss of $36 billion due to water wastage.
He said the climate change and global warming have accelerated the pace of glaciers melting causing heavy rains in monsoon due to which the flood pattern in Pakistan has become every year’s phenomenon.
This situation could be turned into an opportunity by building more dams and water storage facilities in the country to store huge amount of rain water. However, it is unfortunate that our successive governments have not paid due attention to this serious issue.
Sabri said that industrial growth and economic development of our country mostly depended on agriculture. But, water resources were depleting in Pakistan while huge amount of rain water was being lost and wasted in the seas due to lack of storage facilities. This state of affairs could cause severe water scarcity in the country in coming days and pose serious threats to agriculture sector and food security.
He said there is an urgent need to reactivate and gear up disaster management systems to cope with flash floods. He said the existing dams are also silting up leaving reduced capacity to store water. In these circumstances the country desperately needs to construct more dams to store adequate water.
He said the availability of dams and water storage facilities would bring plenty of benefits to the country as it will help in reducing floods damages, generating sufficient amount of cheap electricity, facilitating sustainable agriculture growth, ensuring food security to teeming millions, fostering industrial expansion, reducing poverty and improving exports.