Trade: (UBG calls for improved water strategy, better management)

ISLAMABAD: United Business Group (UBG) of FPCCI on Tuesday called for a proper strategy and improved water management to ensure survival of the economy which has become water stressed.

It demanded extra allocations for water sector and urgent steps to thwart looming serious water crisis due to decades of neglect. Extensive funds should be allocated for development of water resources otherwise our agriculture, livestock and industry will be damaged while country will become a desert, said Iftikhar Ali Malik, Chairman UBG.

Talking to newly elected President FPCCI Abdul Rauf Alam and other leaders, he said that almost ninety percent of water resources are being used for agriculture of which a sizeable quantity is lost due to outdated water distribution system while 35 maf (million acre foot) water goes to the sea.

He said the level of ground water is dropping in many parts of the country which should be taken seriously. He said that our farmers use 100 per cent more water than Indian farmers while the ratio is 200 per cent higher as compare to China and 300 per cent higher to developed nations.

The wastage of water by farmers is a threat to our agriculture covering 21 percent of the GDP and absorbing 45 percent of the labour, he remarked. Malik who is also VP Saarc Chamber said that Pakistan is in need of 200 small, medium and mega dams while it has only 61 out of which only two are mega dams which has increased water scarcity.

He said that 50 years back per capita water availability in country was 5650 cubic meter which is now below 1100 cubic meter which has left impact on power generation and prices of many commodities. Country will need 277 maf of water and 100 increase in water storage capacity by 2025 otherwise it will face a catastrophe, he added.

International experts had advised to make a dam matching size of Turbela every decade which was ignored, he said, adding that Pakistan will be left with no glacier by 2035 as it is among eight weakest countries in terms of climate change.

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