This is not a hidden fact that Pakistan is facing acute water shortage for quite some time. A country that has one of the biggest glaciers in the world is now at the verge to be declared a water-stressed nation, and is now among the 36 most water-stressed nations of the world. To present a clear picture of the scenario, per capita availability of water in the country has plunged from 5,260 cubic meters in 1951 to below 1,100 cubic meters in 2010.
Many analysts have stressed about this alarming indicator in the past, as the continuation of this trend will eventually lead the nation to water scarcity. Also, factors that have played a major role in the increase of demand of water include rapid increase of population, a water-intense economy, low water-usage efficiency, and absence of a national water policy.
Agriculture sector of Pakistan is the biggest consumer of water, and hence played a major role in the water shortage. Therefore, it is extremely important to devise methods and mechanism to make crop irrigation more efficient in order to conserve water for industrial and domestic purposes.
Moreover, keeping in mind the fact that Pakistan currently has the fourth-highest water usage rate in the world, water scarcity can have some serious repercussions on the country’s economy. Stressing on the fact that agriculture sector of the country consumes 93% of its freshwater resources, there is a severe need to improve the water consumption efficiency rate of the sector, which currently stands at 50%.
Interestingly, as a nation, we don’t believe that endless water supply is the best solution to the problem. However, we need to ensure effective pricing of water and proper utilization of new technologies to increase the sustainability and equity. To be more specific, new technologies like micro-irrigation, low-energy precision application sprinklers, and proper treatment of waste water can improve the efficiency immensely.
Not just that, policymakers should also devise mechanism to offer rewards to farmers based on how efficiently they use water in irrigation, and promote usage of new technologies. Adding to that, economic engine that promotes green technologies should be invoked to add intrinsic value to water.
In any case, we at BizUpdates believe that if it’s difficult to bolster the supply of fresh water, then we should focus more on the efficiency to balance the supply and demand for a sustainable future.