ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s water issues cannot be seen in isolation, but must be dealt with while considering their economic, political and cultural aspects, environmentalist Dr Daanish Mustafa said on Wednesday.

The debate on water issues in Pakistan has become a source of mistrust between people from different provinces, and keeping in view their extreme positions it is difficult to cover their opinions while finding solutions to contemporary water problems.

While the water and security challenges are substantial, the cultural and social capital realised through water must not be underestimated, he said.

Dr Mustafa is a reader in politics and environment at the King’s College London.


Small farmers bear the brunt of water scarcity, says Dr Daanish Mustafa


He was speaking on ‘Hydro-hazardscapes of Climate Change in Pakistan’, a lecture organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

He said water scarcity issues facing Pakistan are solvable, but institutions and water managers lack vision and understanding of workable solutions.

The discussion was opened by SDPI’s Imran Khalid, who said water and climate change are urgent matters that demand a thorough debate and the right actions at every level.

Dr Mustafa also gave a detailed presentation, in which he said that commuting climate change and its impact in future terms was not the right strategy, and the people’s immediate issues should be addressed, including the contemporary water scarcity issue facing Pakistanis.

He said in the present context, groundwater in the lower reaches of the Indus Basin is salty and therefore unusable for most purposes, while the water table is rising in some areas to such an extent that plants can no longer grow in the soil.

He said the basin can actually be divided into two zones, where there is no water scarcity in the freshwater zone but people living in the saline groundwater zone are facing urgent problems.

He said small farmers bear the brunt of water scarcity, most of whom have to buy their inputs on credit and as a result of poor harvests are unable to repay their debts.

He said this phenomenon is contributing to an urbanisation rate higher than any other in South Asia.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...