Secretary: (Climate Change Secretary warns mounting water crisis in Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary for Climate Change Arif Ahmed Khan on Sunday warned that mounting water crisis in Pakistan, particularly in the context of global warming, can imperil efforts being made for achieving socio-economic development goals in the country.

“Rapidly shrinking per capita water availability in the country has put these efforts at stake and serious policy measures are needed for boosting water conservation at all levels, particularly agriculture is inevitable to cope with the grim scenario of the water availability,” he said.

It is a matter of concern that some 60 years ago per capita water availability in Pakistan was more or less 5,000 cubic meters. But it has decreased to less than 1,000 cubic meter, putting the country in the list of those ranked as water-stressed countries, the federal climate change minister’s secretary explained.

He expressed these views in a press statement issued here on Sunday in the context of the World Water Day 2015, marked on March 22 across the world including Pakistan under the theme ‘Water and Sustainable Development’.

World Water Day is held every year on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the unprecedented significance of freshwater resources and advocating sustainable management of these resources at all levels and among all stakeholders, particularly farmers.

He stressed, “Water is essential for human health and well-being, food and energy production, social and economic stability, and for protecting and maintaining healthy ecosystems. But it is also a finite and vulnerable resource under mounting pressure, more so because of global warming.”

In Pakistan, freshwater resources are threatened by climate change, urbanization, population growth, pollution and other drivers of change, Arif Ahmed Khan counted.

He further highlighted that surface water in the form of rivers, lakes or rainfall is inadequate to meet the requirements of irrigation. This shortfall is being compensated by over-exploitation of groundwater and added that the decreasing storage capacity of major dams in Pakistan due to sedimentation continue to aggravate the water situation in the country.

Stressing upon need for building new water reservoirs of varying sizes in the country, it is necessary to develop an integrated approach towards the efficient use of water, its recycling and reuse at all levels including domestic, industrial and agriculture, he suggested.

“We all stakeholders and water users must ensure that we sincerely adopt the principle of “do more with less water” in order to guarantee the resource’s sustainability without compromising the ability of our future generations to meet their respective water-related needs,” the Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan urged.

He assured all the stakeholders that his federal climate change minister under the support of the Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahid Ullah Khan, would make support every initiative at all levels that helps conserve water in all economic sectors. For, water was at the heart of sustainable socio-economic development.

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