21 MAF water wasted?

Published November 5, 2017

APROPOS the news report ‘21 MAF water wasted every year’ (Nov 3). It is alarming to note that a specialised body like the Indus River System Authority has portrayed the flow of water into the Arabian Sea as a waste. Even more dismaying is the fact that the report is missing critical information, the absence of which makes it misleading.

Irsa and the Senate Forum at which Irsa officials presented these figures do not know that fresh river water flowing into the sea is not waste. In fact, it is critical to the ecosystem of the vast deltaic region.

Without fresh water flowing into the sea, the death of mangroves is guaranteed which in turn stops the breeding of a wide variety of sea life. Further, the reduced flow of fresh water into the sea has resulted in seawater intrusion by several kilometers inland in riverine areas like Thatta, causing salinity and destruction of cultivable land.

All over the world rivers flow into seas and efforts are actually made to ensure a minimum flow is maintained throughout the year to protect ecosystems in deltaic regions. So fresh water flowing into the sea is not ‘wasted’.

Irsa should focus on saving fresh water all along the long course of the Indus through the lining of rivers and canals to avoid water loss through seepage and covering canals with solar panels (as done in India) which serve the double purpose of saving water from evaporating while generating electricity for farmers.

The provinces should completely stop logging and ensure the removal of undergrowth in the mountainous catchment areas. This is the main cause of millions of tonnes of silt flowing into our dams and reducing their storage capacity.

Zohare Ali Shariff

Karachi

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2017

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