The water resources of Pakistan have been estimated at about 144 MAF. These include surface water (93 MAF) and groundwater (51 MAF). The annual renewable water resources (ARWR) have been estimated at about 106 MAF, which includes surface water (63 MAF) and groundwater (43 MAF). The per capita water availability in Pakistan has been estimated at about 1,017 m3/year, which is much below the international Water Poverty Index (WPI) of 1,700 m3/year.
Pakistan is an agricultural country and its economy largely depends on agriculture. The sector contributes 21% to the GDP and employs 45% of the total labour force in the country. Out of the total cropped area, 58% is under irrigation while 42% is rain-fed. The cultivated area has been estimated at 22 million hectares. The cropping intensity is 152%. About 97% of the food needs are met through domestic production. Wheat and rice are the staple crops of Pakistan.
The crop production in Pakistan is heavily dependent on irrigation as 58% of the cropped area is under irrigation. The lifeline of Pakistani agriculture is its canal system, which irrigates Water is a vital resource for all life on Earth. In Pakistan, water is an especially important resource because it is essential for agriculture. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for many people in Pakistan. The main crops grown in Pakistan are wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton and maize. Irrigation is essential for the growth of these crops.
The Indus River is the lifeline of Pakistan. It provides water for drinking, irrigation and generation of hydroelectricity. The river has been a source of conflict between India and Pakistan since 1947. The conflict is mainly due to the unequal distribution of water between the two countries. Pakistan and India have been unable to reach a water-sharing agreement despite several rounds of negotiations. The main reason for this is that both countries want to maximize their use of the river’s water. This has led to a situation where Pakistan has less water available for irrigation than it needs. As a result, crop yields in Pakistan are often low. This puts Pakistan at a disadvantage in the international market, where Indian crops are often cheaper.
The Pakistani government has tried to address the issue of unequal water distribution by building dams and canals. However, these infrastructure projects are expensive and take many years to complete. In the meantime, the Pakistani people continue to suffer from the effects of water scarcity.
Distribution of water among Provinces in Pakistan
Pakistan is an agricultural country and most of the people earn their livelihood from agriculture. The main source of water for agriculture is rivers and canals. The distribution of water among the provinces has always been a controversial issue. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan divides the waters of six rivers flowing between the two countries. Under the treaty, three eastern rivers – Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej – are allocated to India, while three western rivers – Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum – are allocated to Pakistan.
The controversy over water distribution among the provinces started after the construction of the Tarbela Dam in 1974 and the Mangla Dam in 1967. These dams store water for irrigation and generate electricity. The storage of water in these dams led to a reduction in river flow downstream, which impacted the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
The construction of the Kalabagh Dam has been a controversial issue since the 1980s. The dam is proposed to be built on the River Indus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The main purpose of the dam is to store water for irrigation and generate electricity. However, the project has been opposed by the provinces of Sindh and Punjab.
The current distribution of water among the provinces is as follows:
The province of Punjab has the largest share of water, while the province of Balochistan has the smallest share. This is despite the fact that Sindh and Balochistan are the most populous provinces of Pakistan. The province of Punjab is able to maintain its large share of water due to its political clout and control over the headworks of canals.
Pakistan is a water-stressed country. The average person in Pakistan has access to only 1,017 cubic meters of water per year. This is less than the international water poverty line of 1,700 cubic meters. Water scarcity is a major problem in Pakistan. 96% of the country’s water is used for agriculture. This leaves very little water for domestic use or for industry. The Indus River Basin is the main source of water for Pakistan. The basin covers an area of 1.1 million square kilometres. It is shared by India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The river originates in Tibet and flows through India and Pakistan before emptying into the Arabian Sea.
The Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 was a temporary solution to the seemingly endless dispute over sharing river waters. The four provinces agreed on an average flow for this agreement, however, it soon became clear that not all countries would be able to follow such flexible terms and so in 2015 Pakistan again postponed negotiations until 2020 when they hope new technology will allow more precise measurements than ever before. This accord allocated 55.94 MAF and 48.76 MAF of water to be between Punjab and Sindh provinces respectively while the remaining 9.65 MAF of water was distributed between Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces
- Punjab is the largest province in Pakistan. It produces 50% of the country’s wheat and 65% of its rice. The province also produces a large amount of sugarcane, cotton and maize.
- Sindh is the second-largest province in Pakistan. It produces 30% of the country’s wheat and 35% of its rice. The province also produces a large amount of sugarcane, cotton and maize.
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the third-largest province in Pakistan. It produces 15% of the country’s wheat and 10% of its rice. The province also produces a large amount of sugarcane, cotton, and maize.
- Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan by area. It produces 5% of the country’s wheat and 5% of its rice. The province also produces a large amount of sugarcane, cotton and maize.
This unfair distribution of water has led to social and political unrest in Pakistan. The province of Sindh has been protesting against the construction of the Kalabagh Dam for many years. The people of Sindh believe that the dam will deprive them of their share of water and will destroy their agricultural lands. The construction of the dam is a highly controversial issue in Pakistan and has caused a great deal of tension between the provinces. It is essential that the government of Pakistan find a way to resolve this issue so that the country can move forward and develop peacefully.
Major Challenges in the distribution of water
- Lack of a centralized authority for water management: There is no one government body responsible for managing Pakistan’s water resources, which has led to a situation where different provinces and sectors are competing for the limited water available.
- Unequal distribution of rainfall: Most of Pakistan’s rainfall occurs in the northern part of the country, while the southern regions are much drier. This creates a water surplus in the north and water shortages in the south.
- Inefficient use of water resources: A large portion of the country’s irrigation water is lost due to evaporation and leakage. In addition, many farms are still watered with groundwater, which is not sustainable in the long term.
- Unequal distribution of water resources: Some river basins in Pakistan have much more water available than others, creating a situation where some provinces have a surplus while others experience water shortages.
- Poorly planned development projects: Lack of coordination between different agencies has led to poorly planned development projects that have not to take water availability into account. As a result, these projects often end up causing more harm than good.
- Climate change: Climate change is leading to changes in precipitation patterns, which is likely to exacerbate the problem of water scarcity in Pakistan.
- Deforestation: Deforestation is another major factor that contributes to water shortages as it reduces the ability of the land to absorb and store water.
- Population growth: Pakistan’s population is growing at a rapid rate, which is putting increasing pressure on the country’s water resources.
- Industrialization: The industrial sector is one of the biggest consumers of water in Pakistan. In addition, many industries pollute water sources, further exacerbating the problem.
- Poorly functioning institutions: The government institutions responsible for managing water resources are often ineffective and corrupt. This leads to a situation where valuable water resources are not being used efficiently or effectively.
Balochistan Needs Water to Overcome Crisis
Balochistan Needs Water to fulfil its requirements to cover the scarcity issues in the province. The province is home to a large number of small villages and towns, which are struggling to meet their water needs. The Cholistan desert is one of the driest regions in Pakistan and covers an area of 26,300 square kilometres. The desert is home to a large number of small villages and towns, which are struggling to meet their water needs.
The main source of water for the people living in the Cholistan desert is groundwater. However, due to the high level of evaporation, the groundwater level is declining at an alarming rate. In addition, the quality of groundwater is also deteriorating due to contamination from agricultural chemicals and industrial effluents. As a result of these problems, the people living in the Cholistan desert are facing severe water shortages. They are forced to travel long distances in search of water. In some cases, they are even forced to drink contaminated water, which is leading to a rise in water-borne diseases.
The government of Pakistan has taken some measures to address the water crisis in Balochistan. However, much more needs to be done to solve the problem.
Factors Causing Water Scarcity in Balochistan
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the water scarcity problem in Balochistan. These include a Lack of rain, Inefficient irrigation practices, Unsustainable groundwater extraction, Poor water governance, and a Lack of investment in infrastructure. Nowadays there is a severe water crisis in Balochistan. Animals and human beings both are facing water shortages. There is a need to create awareness among all sections of society about the importance of water conservation and its need in near future. Government should also take some measures to improve the efficiency and accountability of government institutions responsible for water resource management. Furthermore, there is a need to invest in improving the infrastructure for water supply and sanitation in order to solve this problem. People are drinking unhygienic water which is leading to different water-borne diseases.
How to Improve Water Management
It is clear that there is a need to improve water management in Pakistan. One of the first steps that should be taken is the establishment of a centralized authority responsible for water resource management. This would ensure that there is a coordinated approach to water development and management. In addition, the government should invest in infrastructure projects to improve the efficiency of water use. For example, investments should be made in irrigation systems that reduce losses due to evaporation and leakage. Finally, the government should promote sustainable agriculture practices that minimize the need for irrigation water. This would help to reduce the pressure on Pakistan’s limited water resources.
The following are some suggested measures for efficient water management:
- Improve water use efficiency: One of the most important measures for improving water management is to increase water use efficiency. This can be done through technology upgrades, proper maintenance of irrigation systems, and training of farmers inefficient irrigation practices.
- Promote conservation: There is a need to create awareness about the importance of water conservation among all sections of society. This can be done through education and awareness campaigns. In addition, measures such as rainwater harvesting and desalination should be promoted.
- Improve water governance: It is essential to improve the efficiency and accountability of government institutions responsible for water resource management. This can be done through capacity building, institutional reforms, and the use of information and communication technologies.
- Invest in infrastructure: There is a need to invest in improving the infrastructure for water supply and sanitation. This includes investments in treatment plants, distribution networks, and storage facilities.
- Manage demand: It is important to manage demand for water through measures such as pricing, rationing, and water conservation.
- Adopt an integrated approach: There is a need to adopt an integrated approach to water management, taking into account the different dimensions of the problem. This includes ecological, social, economic, and political aspects.
- Promote international cooperation: International cooperation is essential for sustainable water management. This includes sharing of knowledge and technology, financial assistance, and capacity building.
The above measures are just a few of the many that need to be taken for improving water management in Pakistan. It is important to note that there is no single silver bullet for solving the water crisis. Rather, it requires a multi-pronged approach involving all stakeholders.
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