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Our Correspondent

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Mar 23, 2018

Country on threshold of water scarcity

LAHORE: To mark World Water Day 2018, WWF-Pakistan hosted a panel discussion on the issue of the mismanagement of resources in the country. During the event, panelists stressed the country was on the threshold of water scarcity.
Punjab Agriculture Department Secretary Muhammad Mahmood, WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri, LUMS Centre for Water Informatics and Technology Director Dr Abubakar Muhammad, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council Chairman Dr Yousaf Zafar and PCRWR Regional Director Zamir Ahmed Somroo were the panelists.
The aim of the discussion was to bring together stakeholders from different backgrounds to discuss issues related to groundwater availability and quality in Pakistan.
International water day: Experts say govt ignorant of worsening water condition
Alarmingly, the groundwater level is declining in Lahore with a depletion rate of approximately 2.5 to 3 feet per year for the district. The water table depth in the central part of the city has fallen below 130 feet, approximately, and is projected to drop below 230 feet in most areas by 2025. If the present trend continues, the situation will become even worse by 2040. The panelists urged the need for conserving groundwater and to adopt strategies at the earliest.
World Water Day is celebrated globally to highlight the importance of water related issues by raising awareness and encouraging policymakers to look into sustainable development initiatives in cities as a support to lessen stress on urban water systems.
This year, World Water Day is being celebrated with the extended theme of ‘Nature for Water’. Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving water-related crises seen around the world. Floods, droughts and water pollution are all made worse by degradation of vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.
Experts were of the view that when ecosystems are neglected, it becomes harder to provide the public with water needed to survive and thrive.
Speaking on the occasion, WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said Pakistan was a water-stressed country and was nearing the threshold of scarcity. “Access to safe drinking water in rural and urban areas is declining and the provision of portable water is a key issue that people face,” he said.