ISLAMABAD: For water conservation, the government should concentrate on building dams, maintaining infrastructure, tackling pollution and changing agriculture practices.
The recommendations were made in a report: ‘Pakistans Water Discourse: Attitudes on Water Management Practices’ launched by a think tank Jinnah Institute on Friday.
The report has advised the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to focus more on resolving inter-provincial water issues.
The report has also recommended that flood response mechanism should be institutionalised at the district level.
Moreover, the report says that quality of underground water is at risk of contamination.
It is recommended that glacial melt should also be recorded and water wastage should be controlled all over the country.
Water experts warn that Pakistan should prepare for an “environmental disaster” with the shifting of country’s seasonal monsoons from traditional catchment areas to Afghanistan. This trend has multiplied the potential for flash floods and erratic rainfall.
Former Ambassador in India Shafqat Kakakhel said water was essential for human existence but Pakistan had been facing problem of quality of water and quantity of water.
“Annual water availability per capita has fallen drastically since partition, from approximately 5,200 cubic meters to less than 1,000 cubic meters, impacting marginalised communities and women the most,” he said.
Mr Kakakhel said that he was distressed to see that a majority of Afghans were not interested in a water treaty with Pakistan.
Environmental lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam, who is also author of the report, said that as many as 90 face to face interviews and hundreds of online interviews were conducted for the report.
While responding to a question about Indus Water Treaty (IWT) he said some people believed that Pakistan had sold two rivers while signing IWT and other thought that it was a good agreement but India was not implementing it.
“Pakistan has water but do not have water storage capacity. It has to make new water reservoirs. However experts think that water tariff should be increased,” he said.
Former Wapda chairman Shamsul Mulk was also present in the ceremony however he was not included in the list of speakers.
Mr Mulk suggested that all objections on river flow data between provinces should be taken up in the CCI.
He also said that China had built 22,000 large and small dams in past 50 years, while Pakistan has been unable to move forward on any of its dam projects.