What happens when the Indus doesn't reach the sea?

The Indus Delta was once prosperous. Today, it is home to suffering, despondency and death.
Updated 18 Sep, 2019 08:58pm

The Indus River, the vertebra of our country, runs 3,200 kilometres in total and, if cared for, is capable of providing sustenance to all, from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. But without the release of freshwater into the Indus, the coastal region of Pakistan is running dry. The fifth-largest delta in the world is shrinking.

A delta is formed at the mouth of a river, when the river sheds its sediment load, before meeting a slower moving water body such as an ocean, sea, lake and sometimes another river.

The currents of a fast moving river eventually become weak, making it difficult for the river to carry its sediment load any further. The sediment is then dropped at a delta, making it a highly fertile area, before the river concludes its journey by joining another water body.

The Indus Delta, this meeting between the Abasin (Pashto for ‘Father of Rivers’) and the Arabian Sea, was once a union of prosperity. Residents there used to be traders, agriculturalists and fishermen. Today, it is home to suffering, despondency and death.

Related: How to bring Indus Delta back to life

Spread out in the shape of a fan, the Indus Delta covers an area of 41,440km² and approximately 210km where it meets the sea. It has shrunk manyfold over the decades. It is a complex ecosystem, consisting of swamps, streams and the seventh-largest — and now threatened — mangrove forest in the world.

It is also home to various species of fish and the famous pink Indus dolphin, along with being an important stop on the route for migratory birds. A dying Indus Delta restricts migration and may lead to the extinction of many species of rare birds.

A source of ecological services and economic benefits, the Indus Delta was added as a wetland site to the 1971 Ramsar Wetland Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. Pakistan currently has 19 wetlands designated as areas of international importance under the convention, and nearly half of them are under medium or prominent levels of threat.

Villain one: Government

Discriminatory water policies in Pakistan have left the Indus Delta dry. Data reveals that water flow below the Kotri Barrage gradually decreased after the construction of the Mangla and Tarbela dams, except in high flood years.

As per the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991, Sindh demanded at least 10 million acre feet (MAF) of water to be released below the Kotri Barrage. But between the years 2000 and 2010, the highest number was 5.8 MAF in 2008-9, with the lowest being 0.2 MAF in 2004-2005.

The flow of water from the Indus into the delta is controlled through the Kotri Barrage, situated around 174km from the mouth of the river. This flow is now only seen during the rainy season or in high flood years, when surplus water is supposed to be drained below the barrage in any case.

Without the release of freshwater into the Indus — a consequence of the construction of dams — the river loses its velocity by the time it meets the Arabian Sea. In the absence of flowing freshwater acting as a rival shield, opposing saline seawater forcefully invites itself into the delta and hurts the soil, plants, animals and fish species there.

Without freshwater, depleting fish stock and mangrove forests are causing loss of livelihood and food sources for communities dependent on it. 80pc of fish caught off the coast in Pakistan spend at least a part of their life cycle dependent on the mangrove creeks. Freshwater flows are also supposed to help resist cyclones and tsunamis.

Read next: With Pakistan’s rivers dying, are its ancient cities running out of time?

Furthermore, as seawater intrusion submerges and erodes large tracts of land, saltwater starts creeping into the ground aquifers rendering them unfit for human consumption. A direct consequence of all this is migration, generally to already over-populated urban areas.

The link between lack of freshwater flow and seawater encroachment is not rocket science. If I were to take a guess, the government has made a calculated choice to ignore the need of releasing freshwater into the Indus under the pretense of saving it for agricultural needs. If managed properly, there is plenty of water for both.

The Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers — our largest sources of freshwater — are melting at an unprecedented rate. Logic dictates that this glacier-melt should be entering into our rivers and creating a surplus. But we are told that apparently Pakistan has no water. If the country can’t manage and conserve water now, imagine what we’ll do once we lose our treasured and neglected glaciers — which we will, as things stand.

While many parts of the country were falling victim to a bogus ‘dam awareness scheme’, the people in Sindh were dreading further water diversion. Inequitable water distribution policies that typically serve the interests of only two provinces are a massive policy failure on the part of our successive governments.

Villain two: Climate change

Climate change has further exacerbated the issue, with rising sea levels a glaring consequence of it.

According to the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, sea intrusion has eroded nearly 3.5 million acres of agricultural land since 1956 and more than 2.2 million acres of farmland in the districts of Thatta and Badin. On top of it, mangrove forests that serve as a barrier between the sea and the coastal region and assist in reducing soil erosion, are steadily depleting.

An Asian Development Bank report suggests that sea levels are expected to rise by further 60 centimeters by the end of the century and "will most likely affect the low-lying coastal areas south of Karachi toward Keti Bander and the Indus River Delta." Seawater intrusion will also cause water-logging and large-scale soil erosion in upland areas due to higher tides. The creation of dams on the Indus will drastically aggravate the situation by reducing sediment load and river flow downstream.

Furthermore, reports suggest that by 2050, Thatta will be completely underwater. In fact, many coastal areas in Badin and Thatta have already been submerged by rising sea levels.

PTI's one year: Fixing how we deal with the climate crisis

As the third-largest ice mass outside the global poles — the Himalayan-Karakoram-Hindukush glaciers — melt, they may initially bring more water into the Indus Delta (and also fuel sea level rise), but will eventually leave the area at the mercy of rains.

The Indus Delta already experiences low rainfall, with an estimated average of 25cm to 50cm annually. With altered weather patterns, including prolonged heatwaves and persistent droughts, depending on rainfall alone for agriculture in the region is rather impossible.

Erratic, climate change-induced weather patterns — altered precipitation levels, heightened frequency of torrential rains and frequent tropical cyclones — are another episode of misery for the inhabitants of the Indus delta. A five degree Celsius rise in temperature is expected over the deltaic region by the end of this century. This would increase the amount of water required for domestic consumption, animals and crops by almost 1.5 times.

Caught in a unique cross-road between being submerged by seawater and living through a state of drought, the Indus Delta and its inhabitants are suffering the most intense impacts of climate change.

A possibly happier chapter?

The National Climate Change Policy, 2012 acknowledges the vulnerability of the Indus Delta to climate change. When exactly the government intends to adopt the measures mentioned in the policy, though, remains a mystery.

The construction of dikes that work as walls to stop sea intrusion along the coastal belt has been a partially successful measure. They are cheap and effective solutions in the short term. However, the problem is that dikes do nothing to prevent seawater seepage into the ground aquifers.

A Rs125 billion Sindh barrage project was approved by the federal government this August. This would include the construction of a 12-metre-high barrage on the Indus at a distance of 45km from the sea. The project, expected to be completed by 2024, is aimed at addressing the issues of land erosion and degradation due to seawater intrusion.

A sad conclusion

While tireless efforts by some organisations to revive the delta continue, we need to make a promise to ourselves: that other fragile ecosystems in Pakistan shouldn’t end up this way.

In July this year, almost 1,500 farmers marched 140km to Thatta to protest against water shortage in the Indus Delta. They sang a song that translates to: Wake up, O’heirs of Sindhu, save her, help us cross on this broken boat to the other side.

If things don't drastically change, there will be no need for any boats. We’ll have nowhere left to go.


Are you exploring the impacts of climate change in Pakistan? Write to us at prism@dawn.com

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Sara Hayat is a lawyer and climate change specialist based in Pakistan. She is a 2020 development fellow at The Asia Foundation, a non-profit international development organisation. She tweets @saratamman


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (87) Closed

Shahid Mahmood
Sep 17, 2019 05:41pm
Do you want to save humans or the delta. While population has grown many fold in the last 70 years, need for food security and drinking water is the main issue not a 44000 sqkm delta. We can not afford to let the precious water fall in to the sea any more and there is a need for building Kalabagh and Bhasha dams to save our agriculture, be it in Punjab or Sindh.
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Fastrack
Sep 17, 2019 06:21pm
More water or no water?
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ramu
Sep 17, 2019 07:31pm
India has similar issues. I wish the two countries could work on such issues rather than our 70 year old territorial dispute.
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Soumya
Sep 17, 2019 07:51pm
Well informed article..we have crossed awareness stage..need solid action to save our next generation from the impact of our negligence and greed...
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wasim
Sep 17, 2019 08:13pm
Getting one at the cost of other is no wisdom. Introspection, innovation and tapping of our natural resources prudently is what we need.
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Zaidi
Sep 17, 2019 08:22pm
Great analysis. Proper planing and execution is required to save the future.
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Govardan
Sep 17, 2019 08:58pm
This menace should stop.These delta's are sponsored by India to devoid Pakistan of freshwater..Both our Alps and Hindu Kush glaciers are detourating at a faster rate because of these Indians.
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Sara Khan
Sep 17, 2019 09:08pm
Along the sea we can plant the mix of Eucalyptus and Mangrove Forests to contain the soil erosion, salinity and can create a healthier eco-friendly environment for us and our next generations. It is heart breaking to know that we are even destroying or cutting our precious Mangrove Forests what we presently have instead of Planting more. It is now a Tree Friendly PTI government at the helm of affairs, which should now know where to plant 100 million Eucalyptus and Mangrove trees with the help of the Sindh provincial government.
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Babbar
Sep 17, 2019 09:17pm
@Shahid Mahmood, If someone tries to protect oxygen in air, I guess you will say “want to save Humans or Oxygen” It’s not an either-or question. You can save humans and agriculture by saving river. Else in a few decades, Pakistan will be starving!
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Abid Shahzad
Sep 17, 2019 09:22pm
@Shahid Mahmood Dear, It is not an either or question. We must know that Delta's health is very important for the Eco-system of Pakistan; therefore, people of Pakistan in general and people of Sindh in particular are the true beneficiaries of Healthy Delta.
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Ali Inc
Sep 17, 2019 09:24pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Billions of people in India also needs water. Stop crying over their dam projects.
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Abid Shahzad
Sep 17, 2019 09:29pm
@Shahid Mahmood We should build as many dams as we need without hurting Delta and let it thriving too for the sake of us, our depleting wild and marine life.
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Karachiwala
Sep 17, 2019 09:37pm
Dykes can be built to prevent seawater intrusion into the landmass. The resulting reservoir will be filled within a couple of years with flood water. This reservoir will provide drinking water and for agriculture in the Thar area. The Dutch have mastered this technology and they will be happy to help provided there is no request for a 10% cut by the Sindh government.
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Shahzad Kazi
Sep 17, 2019 09:47pm
@Shahid Mahmood, That is an uninformed and narrow view of things. If the Indus delta dries up people die. Water flowing into the sea is not a waste but is a necessity . This is required to keep the ecological system going and nurtures mangroves and life in the sea. Building large dams is an ecological disaster and tends to destroy coastal areas.
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Sincinatty
Sep 17, 2019 10:17pm
Don't know who is telling us the truth anymore. Sometimes they provinces are fighting over water shortages. Then they say most of the river water goes into the sea. India says Pakistan's share of water is not deviated. This year there were floods from heavy monsoons and then melting glaciers. Now this article says Indus water doesn't reach the sea. Who is telling the truth ?
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Ahmed Khan
Sep 17, 2019 10:17pm
We mistook policy of utilizing every drop of river water for irrigation...we need to keep some drops for sea also... Great article.
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datlarr
Sep 17, 2019 10:45pm
@Shahid Mahmood, that is the hight of stupidity,when you destroy the ecosystem everthing on the planet will perish,stephen hawking predicted by the end of the century our planet will be umtenable and we have to search for a new planet.
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Kevin
Sep 17, 2019 10:50pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Saving the Delta means saving the people of the delta, are they not equally important as the people in Punjab? What Pakistan needs is better water conversation and less corruption.
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Pulakeshi
Sep 17, 2019 11:03pm
A good article, minimum water flows have to be maintained to preserve the prestine costal ecosystem along with proactive investment in water usage efficiency for agriculture, industry & household.
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A
Sep 17, 2019 11:13pm
The Ganges in India too has faced massive challenges along its 2501 kms path from the Gangotri glacier in Western Himalayas to its mouth at the Sunderbans Delta in Bengal. Huge pollution from the many cities along its path, construction of many dams on its tributaries like the Yamuna, and diversion of waters through canals has left the mother river severely depleted and the delta under threat of extinction. Fortunately, Ganga is revered as a mother here so the Central Govt has pumped it about 2000 cr in the last 10 yrs on Ganga Rejuvenation efforts. Results have been very encouraging.
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Zubaida khan
Sep 17, 2019 11:20pm
@Shahid Mahmood, If you don't let the river flow it will kill the agriculture due to encroachment from the sea. The saltwater will take over and your agriculture will be finished.
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Boharh
Sep 17, 2019 11:25pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Without the delta there will be no humans in the region in the long term. Your suggestions are short sighted.
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Savi
Sep 17, 2019 11:38pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Wrong! The rivers have to drain in the sea to dilute the salt and stabilize the marine life ecosystem! And--the sea is the place from where mass moisture rises so that rain clouds form and bring rain to the country. Without rain, you are all dried up and dead!
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Savi
Sep 17, 2019 11:39pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Wihtout the delta, there will be no more humans! Now , choose!
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Tofi
Sep 17, 2019 11:44pm
"Do you want to save humans or the delta" - look at this wise guy asking! This "educated" person does not even realize that a dead-delta resultsin dead-people!
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Tamilselvan
Sep 17, 2019 11:46pm
Good article written without getting into politics or blaming India for the woes in Pakistan . Thank you
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suneel kanchi
Sep 18, 2019 12:31am
nice article .
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Saeeds
Sep 18, 2019 01:00am
How about lack of trees and over population. These things easily contribute and participate by average person. Climate change is minor minor factor and any use of resources dealing with this theory will be disastrous
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Rehmatullah
Sep 18, 2019 01:01am
Looking at this article and some others that other Pakistani women have written, one has the strong feeling that Pakistan and its neighborhood would have been a MUCH better place if women had ruled instead of men. Great article, Sara Hayat! Kudos.
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ASHAMED
Sep 18, 2019 01:01am
@Shahid Mahmood, ignorant comment by a capitalist. You want to change the course of nature? River has been going into the sea for centuries but then people like you come along telling everyone that there is a "better" way.
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an inhabitant of 'mother Earth'
Sep 18, 2019 01:15am
@Shahid Mahmood, Brother, I strongly disagree with you. You sarcastically questioned the author to whether save humans or delta. In a way, you argued to choose humans instead delta. 'Increasing population' was a reason to it, according to you. However, the reality seems otherwise to me. Delta is being shrunk rapidly; the earth is being eaten up by the sea. Badin and Thatha districts have lost thousands of acres of irrigable land to the sea. If you were a citizen of Badin or Thatha district, would you say the same that population is increasing, so make dams and save water that we could use in time and let the delta shrunk, let the earth been eaten up, let my home been sunk into the sea. Would you dare say so brother? Your solution to the situation seems like if temperature is increasing on earth then why don't we install 'air conditions' in our homes, offices, hospital, schools, everywhere...
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Tahir
Sep 18, 2019 01:41am
@Shahid Mahmood, how sad.. Had you read above article properly you should not had written like that. The author has written both issues-delta and agriculture- can be dealt well if proper steps are taken. Seepage can save approximately 10 MAF that could be released below kotri. Shift to latest agriculture techniques can save approximately 30MAF. However, currently it uses 80%of total water, I.e., 80 to 90 MAF. But if 10 MAF is not realsed to indus delta, it would destroy our eco system and its impacts would be seen on karachi, thatta, badin where also people live in.
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Ali
Sep 18, 2019 02:19am
@Shahid Mahmood, it seems you know nothing the Indus delta system not about the humans living in these areas. Our own survival is depended on this Indus delta system. The delta is shrinking hence the indigenous species as well. Dr Altaf Ali Siyal, who heads the Integrated Water Resources Management Department (IWRM) at USPCASW, and is the principal author of the delta report. The study concludes the delta today constitutes just eight to 10 per cent of its original expanse. But many living in the delta believed it would begin to die when man reined in the mighty Indus. The construction of the Sukkur Barrage (1923 to 1932) by the British, followed by Kotri Barrage in 1955 and Guddu in 1962, squeezed the life out of the once-verdant delta. Prior to this, Sindh used to receive 150 MAF of water annually, now it is around 10 MAF annually. “It would be even better if it receives between 25 and 35 MAF water so that it can return to its past grandeur,” Siyal said
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LCS
Sep 18, 2019 02:36am
@Shahid Mahmood, I am shocked that you are willing to ignore this negative impact on the environment so “humans can live”. The fate of humanity is very closely tied to our eco system and the environment. Water going into the sea is not wastage. Wastage of water is what one sees sees throughout the country because of leaky pipelines and people squandering away water on senseless car washes watering their already green lawns.
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Asif
Sep 18, 2019 03:05am
There are an estimated 84,000 dams in the United States. 3200 in India, 486 in UK, 150 in Pakistan. Ocean level is rising and last thing you want to do is to flood them.
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Surinder Gill
Sep 18, 2019 03:47am
Soul evoking article. Thanks. The situation is equally bad in the land of five rivers, PUNJAB on both sides of Wagha. An area which supplied food to rest of united India is becoming banjjar very fast. Instead of fighting and showing each other down, both governments should join hands to save life in this great land of Sapat Sindhu.
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RN
Sep 18, 2019 04:16am
@Shahid Mahmood, "While population has grown many fold in the last 70 years" People should listen to Fawad Khan.
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Indian
Sep 18, 2019 06:55am
I am happy that Atleast there is article in Pakistan about climate change too.
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Sailua Khan
Sep 18, 2019 07:16am
Excellent article! But the author misses out to point to another villain which is India, who is stopping our river waters in Kashmir for their own benefit and regularly flouting the Indus Water treaty. Inshallah once Kashmir becomes Pakistan, this problem would be solved.
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Zack Abdi
Sep 18, 2019 07:35am
How long people in Pakistan for the wells to go dry? Where's the water policy? What happened to water talks happening earlier? How common folks will address water stress and water footprint issue?
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Sach
Sep 18, 2019 07:39am
@Shahid Mahmood, What is that logic? That is why everyone must be educated in Environment and sustainable sciences.
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Khurram
Sep 18, 2019 07:57am
@Shahid Mahmood, please read the article first and do some more research on this topic before making any comments.
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mr.netizen
Sep 18, 2019 07:59am
Govt instead of wasting time and money on political gimmicks, arms, etc should concentrate on citizen friendly measures like national water policy, anti corruption measures, e-governance, good higher education(not madarassa) system, primary healthcare centres for rural, etc. Then you see the result: GDP, growth rate, foreign reserve, export, etc.
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Vivek
Sep 18, 2019 08:11am
Now Modi is building more dam's so the crisis going to become more worse
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Usman Sani
Sep 18, 2019 08:51am
Delta shall always be there, irrespective of amount of river water entering the sea, surely the type of delta will change but thats how it always been in constant change, the important thing is to save the fresh water for drinking and agriculture.
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B.N.Gururaj
Sep 18, 2019 10:08am
Excellent article. An eye opener for other countries also, which are over-expoloiting the river water.
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Sheikh Sa'adi
Sep 18, 2019 10:21am
Sindh and its people are being deprived of their waters.
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Nasir
Sep 18, 2019 10:36am
Indus Delta is borh a dryland and a wetland but in certain parts of the year/s. With the recent trend of extreme weather events mainly floods there is water , water everywhere. We have to do what the Chinese learnt from the Dutch "wise use of floods' this not only stores more water than big dams underground at a fraction of the cost of the later. Please do see the Ramsar Advisory Mission to Pakistan Report available ay Ramsar Convention website
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Nasir
Sep 18, 2019 10:38am
@Sara Khan, No please study the charactceristis of Euc and do consider to amend your advice .
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kp
Sep 18, 2019 10:51am
@Shahid Mahmood, Israel has zero waste water policy, They are farming in deserts. They dont stop river water so please think about ecosystem as well cause in long run its you the people of Pakistan will suffer
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SOOMRO
Sep 18, 2019 11:02am
@Shahid Mahmood, Hats off to your logical thinking Sir... You just missed the whole point of the very well written piece.
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KG
Sep 18, 2019 11:03am
@Shahid Mahmood, did you read the article? The erosion of the Indus Delta is going to result in people dying from droughts and hunger. And also, she clearly mentions that there is a way to provide water for both agriculture and the Delta if it is distributed more fairly and equitably, which it is not right now.
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MBA
Sep 18, 2019 11:41am
@Shahid Mahmood, Dear sir, growing population and failing foresight for clearly visible disaster are main problems. Building dams has solved a couple of problems and created many more. A deep and holistic approach is required to face these complex questions. One fact can not be ignored: sooner or later, we are going to follow dying bird and fish, becaus they are - directly or indirectly - essential links in the supply chain of our nutrition. Saving precious water falling in to the sea is not enough.
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Masood
Sep 18, 2019 11:46am
A very interesting article, the discussion too is full of new ideas, I think with 18th Amendment solutions are to come from Sindh Government. There can be dykes there can be man grove forests, there can be so many other solutions, low cost and effective, educate the people who are getting affected to take care of themselves etc.
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Dove
Sep 18, 2019 11:49am
Very well written article!. There are ways to do agriculture with little water but ecosystem services are invaluable. Sea intrusion turns turns your ground water resource unusable for humans and so as agricultural lands. Nature serves us in all ways, without ecosystem things wouldn't last for long period.
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Arif Shah
Sep 18, 2019 12:11pm
@Shahid Mahmood save humans or delta? without delta there are no humans left to save.
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Imran Ahmed
Sep 18, 2019 12:29pm
What we need is to plug waste. 85% of water is allocated to Agriculture which can save 70% of its allocation by not planting water wasteful crops like paddy & sugarcane & by avoiding flood irrigation & by minimising evaporation losses. Water waste is also an avoidable feature of all our major cities. We need brilliant & effective teams which can plan, co-ordinate and enforce critically imperative changes.
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AAhmed
Sep 18, 2019 01:27pm
Instead of scientific methods we rely on primitive strategies, long time ago Pakistan build embankments o. Ganges delta to reclaim land for cultivation in formally east Pakistan, unfortunately without proper cyclone warning system, there was a disaster when monsoon strike and farmers were not warned properly. However, it was 60s and Pakistan was trying modern technology developed by Netherland. Reclaiming Indus delta require raising of water table at the coast to push saline water back. What it needs is to develop multilayered embankment to hold water before it discharge into the sea. The high pressure of sweet water will push the saline water out to ocean preventing it from rising up into the delta. Instead of innovative strategies we want to flush water out to sea. Every year or two we get enormous amount of flood water down the river, that need to be utilized for raising water table of Sindh. Small dams are needed to be built in Thatparker and other deserted areas.
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Pawail
Sep 18, 2019 01:58pm
You forgot Villain Zero: Overpopulation
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AHK
Sep 18, 2019 02:19pm
@ramu, well said !
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Indian Friend
Sep 18, 2019 02:46pm
I think India and Pakistan should work together on climate change. Please lets forget Kashmir for some time and address some real issues that will impact our future generations.
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mtn
Sep 18, 2019 04:03pm
good. you are more knowledgeable than imran khan. where is naya pakistan? petrol is still above 120
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Sara Abbassi
Sep 18, 2019 05:41pm
@Shahid Mahmood, "we cannot let precious water fall in the sea". My dear brother, if you didn't previously know, you should've atleast read the article more keenly. It is a natural process for fresh water to eventually meet with the sea. as the article says and I quote, " In the absence of flowing freshwater acting as a rival shield, opposing saline seawater forcefully invites itself into the delta and hurts the soil, plants, animals and fish species there." If you don't understand what that means, I'll write it in a simpler way for you. The sea and the river flow in opposite directions, and this force ensures that the sea water doesn't come any further. Because if it does, the coastal cities like karachi will submerge in water. Without the oppositional force of the river, we are prone to tsunamis and cyclones. The ideal way could be to make smaller dams all around the country instead of only in 1 province, compromising the water needs of another province.
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Vijay B.
Sep 18, 2019 07:32pm
Cutting down water usage and wastage, and rain water conservation even on the domestic level is something we all need to put in to practice. Hydroponic farming and lining of water canals and ducts is another necessity to put available water to its optimum use and maximum efficiency. We do not need to reinvent the wheel in this aspect, just follow in Israel's footsteps and adopt their methods and technology. If they have successfully made the desert bloom and become self sufficient, so can we.
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mahmood khan
Sep 18, 2019 08:17pm
please include some maps so its easy for readers to actually visualize.
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Sara Khan
Sep 18, 2019 08:27pm
At the end of the day, it would be the decision of our Botanical Experts as it should be. Our Botanical Experts may want to share their views on these kind of healthy discussions on these pages to educate their people. Thanks.
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Ghanshyam Patel
Sep 18, 2019 08:45pm
So uptill now, the glaciers have acted as reservoirs. It now needs dams and reservoirs to store rainwater in the subcontinent.
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St Mercury
Sep 18, 2019 09:54pm
Pakistan and India need serious population control. There are too many people and not enough resources. Plus people are ignorant when it comes to the environment. All talk no action.
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Amir
Sep 18, 2019 11:57pm
Thank you Sara for this informative article. I hope you can get this translated into Urdu and local languages so more people can become aware of what's happening to Indus delta. I would be happy to help translate into Urdu if you like.
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Siva
Sep 19, 2019 01:12am
Sara, Eucalyptus plantation is not good as it can ruin soil
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Dr. Rafiq Khan
Sep 19, 2019 01:44am
@Shahid Mahmood, I want to save the Delta.
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Alla Bux
Sep 19, 2019 03:24am
India steals our water and then Punjab steals Sindh's water. So it goes on.
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Pakistani
Sep 19, 2019 04:01am
The root cause of this is huge population growth in South Asia.
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Dam Banao Tehreek
Sep 19, 2019 04:21am
@Sheikh Sa You can have your water but you wont get electricity generated from Tarbela and Mangla. If you agree to give your share of electricity to us, you can have our share of water.
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Dam Banao Tehreek
Sep 19, 2019 04:27am
@Shahzad Kazi, I hope you are writing this by powering your computer by using solar energy and not by using hydro electric power generated from Tarbela and 'Mangla. If you dont want dams, you also wont get electricity. make a choice....
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Amjad Durrani Engineer USA
Sep 19, 2019 07:36am
Pakistan, being water stressed & becoming water scarce by 2025, needs to overcome overlapping socio-economic, environmental, & political issues, to ensure its future water sustainable management of the Indus River Basin System. With 750 MAF/ capital/yr availability, w/add on decline due to industrialization & urbanization & climate change, is exerting chronic strains on water resources, by shifting the seasonal timing of geographical distribution of available supplies. Increasingly subject to soaring demand, unsustainable consumption patterns, & mounting environmental stresses, the Indus is swiftly becoming a “closed” basin; almost all of the river’s available renewable water is already allocated for various uses, with almost no spare capacity. The policy-makers, both at provincial & federal level need to comprehend, assess, & devise better water resources management, by integrating global & regional environmental changes, sustainable development, & social welfare in the Indus Basin.
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Mukhtar Khan
Sep 19, 2019 07:38am
@Shahid Mahmood, choice is not between saving Delta versus humans. Goal is to save Indus River, with out which there will be no Pakistan as you know it. Delta is one component of the whole complex of supply and demand besides pollution, climate change, deforestation, over extraction of water both from aquifer and surface water source. The biggest threat to survival of Indus is CPEC land rout ICE traffic over KKH. 1951 Pakistan population was 45 million, per capital Wster 5200 cm now population is 200 million per capital water dropped to less 1000, declaring country as water stressed. Pakistan has to improve water efficiency, increase crop per drop. 93% fresh water use versus 70 world average and 50% of US. It is a miserable inefficiency. Below Kotri there must be Indus flow of at least 10 MAF, preferably 15 maf. Guess where the 100,000 delta dwellers are migrating to, guessed wrong to KARACHI slums. Think broad, think deep and distant.
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Darshan suri USA
Sep 19, 2019 10:15am
Awareness is the right tool to address the issue. Great job!
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afsal
Sep 19, 2019 10:18am
who cares for sindh, karachi or anythg else than punjab...
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Abbas
Sep 19, 2019 10:51am
Great article. The delta was created and maintained in nature by 250 billion cubic meters of annual flow, loaded with 481 million tons of silt. Someone telling that all it needs today is 10 MAF (or 13 billion cubic meters) of flow to maintain the delta is a joke. The delta does not just need water - it also needs 100s of million tons of silt load. Delta barrage is an even bigger joke when portrayed as 'an environmental' fix.
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Abbas
Sep 19, 2019 10:55am
@Shahid Mahmood, Those who live in delta are also humans (besides all the birds and bees and fish and frog). Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the best of govt's strategy. Not to let the waters flow back to the sea is the basic violation of the equation of continuity in the science of hydrology. Destroying the livelihoods of one set of people to feed another set is an immoral approach, to say the least.
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HUBP
Sep 19, 2019 12:18pm
Good article & well researched!
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kandhro abdul rauf
Sep 19, 2019 12:30pm
very nicely articulated point of view dire need is to be read by ministry of water and power authority people confessing the dams
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kandhro abdul rauf
Sep 19, 2019 12:36pm
very timely an informative point of view for careful reading of ministry of water & power development authority
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Omar Cheema
Sep 19, 2019 01:11pm
Pakistan is running out of water to feed its people. Id rather store ALL the water of the Indus than allow it to be drained into the Sea.
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Fatima baloch
Sep 19, 2019 01:51pm
Very informative article.. I am a resident of indus delta ... And mark it pakistan is next moan jo daro ... who ever has disturbed the natural phenomenon, nature has wiped them out ... Indus was there when there was no one and will be there but the ppl who are smashing its dignity will be history soon...
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Dr. Atif Ashraf
Sep 19, 2019 05:57pm
@Shahid Mahmood, Besides, the creeping salt water in aquifers would affect half of sindh atleast if the situation remains so for next decade or so. That would affect almost 3 crore pakistanis. It's not just about delta. It's about abusing nature and the butterfly affect that would be seen in times to come. What is needed is proper utilization of water. We as a nation seem not at all concerned while wasting water. We wash our homes, and cars with fresh water indigenously. We still flood our crops using atleast 8 times the water that is required. We dont care when building cities and hardly leave any non-concrete areas for rain water to refill aquifers. Nor we worry about storing rain water that makes up atleast about 20% of national needs. All we worry about is to hold water in the upfront of rivers. We could have this as an option but alot more needs to be done much before. I am not against dams, but issues and solutions should be prioritized not politicized
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