The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) told the Senate Forum for Policy Research on Thursday that Pakistan dumps water worth approximately $21 billion into the sea each year due to a lack of water conservation systems.
In a meeting of the forum, chaired by Nayyar Husain Bukhari, members of Irsa and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) made shocking revelations while briefing attendees about Pakistan's lack of water conservation systems and water distribution to provinces.
"The country needs three Mangla-sized dams to conserve the amount of water that goes to sea each year," Irsa members told the meeting while informing them that Pakistan faces a 36 per cent shortage in its water requirements at the moment.
If no water reservoirs are made, the country faces an extreme water shortage in the coming years, Irsa members said as they endorsed the long-overdue creation of the Kalabagh Dam.
Pakistan can only store up to 30 days' worth of water, while India can store up to 320 days' worth, Irsa members informed the meeting while stressing upon the need for more reservoirs in the country.
"Kalabagh dam can be completed in five years," a PCRWR member said, but told officials that the Akhoori Dam can also be developed as an alternative to Kalabagh.
"Do not talk about the Kalabagh Dam after three provinces have voted against it; discuss alternative plans with us," said Jahanzeb Jamaldini.
The inflow of rivers Indus, Chenab, Kabul and Jehlum has dropped and as a result, this year's crop may be severely affected, Irsa members informed the meeting.
Water levels in Islamabad are falling by one metre each year and six metres in Balochistan, Irsa officials warned the officials. PCRWR members warned that out of 43 lakes in Pakistan, the levels of 26 have dropped drastically in the past few years, while the country remains without a National Water Policy.
To top it all off, the country's population is on the rise at an alarming rate which is also adding to its water woes, PCRWR told the meeting.
"Shortage is a common problem; the question is what are we doing to deal with it," the meeting's chair responded.