Water Resources in Pakistan
Pakistan the water ample country has now become the water scant country. The surface of the country comprises world’s largest glaciers, forming rivers. Pakistan is an agrarian country, consisting of large amount of agrarian societies. Out of country’s total geographical area of 79.6 million hectares, cultivated area is 21.2 million hectors, cropped area constitutes 23.8 million hectors and almost 80% of the cultivated area is irrigated. The irrigated land supplies approximately 90% of the country’s food. Pakistan is among the world’s top ten producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates and kinnow organs and hold 13thposition in rice production. Major crops contribute 6.5 % while minor crops, 2.3% country’s GDP. This large amount of the agricultural production and continuously increasing population place high demand on Pakistan’s water resources. According to the federal bureau of statistics 2010-11, 45% of the labor force are working in agricultural field which contributes 20.9% of the GDP[FAO of UN]. It is calculated that approximately 25% of Pakistan’s GDP is based on agriculture.
Similarly, the industries in Pakistan are based on hydropower, which is generated through dams. Therefore, the importance of water for the endurance of our economy is very important. According to Pakistan water vision and world bank report, Pakistan would have adequate water if Pakistan take some cardinal steps through conservation of water [Pakistan water vision 2003 by world bank]. There are two chief resources in Pakistan, first is natural recourses and the other are artificial recourses. The naturalresources comprise of rivers, rainfalls, glaciers, ponds, lakes, streams, karez and wells. Whereas the artificial recourses consist of water stored in dams and reservoirs. Here in this paper we will discuss in detail all the water resources in Pakistan.
Pakistan consists of 7253 Known glaciers, there is more glacial ice in Pakistan than anywhere else on earth, these glaciers form rivers that account for about 70% of the stored water. In karakaram Range total length of glaciers is 160 km. All most 35% of the Karakaram Range is under its glaciers, Himalayas has 17% and European Alphas as 22%.
There are mainly two sourcesof rainfall in Pakistan. First is the monsoon annual rain fall and other western disturbances. The 70% rain fall in monsoon season occurs from July to September. The Indus plain receives an average of 212mm and 52mm of rainfall in the Kharif and Rabi seasons respectively.
Pakistan consist of five major rivers which join Indus river from eastern side it includes Jehlum, Channab, Rivi, Beas and Sutluj. The other rivers are minor it include, Haro, Soan, Siran. There are number of small rivers which join the Indus river from the western side it includes river Kabul,Kunar, Punj and Kora. From right Gomal, kurram, Tai, Kohat, Tank and several other small streams join the Indus river.
According to IRSA, the Indus river system receives and average annual water inflow of about 146MAF, which is mostly derived from snow and glacier melting. The flow is decreasing alarmingly by every year, the total annual flow in year 2002-03 is 90.999 and 21.55MAF in Kharif and Rabi season respectively. In year 2003-04 the total annual flow is 110.794 and 21.37 in Karif and Rabi season respectively. Similarly, in year 2010-11 83.573 and 24.964 is observed in karif and Rabi seasons respectively [IRSA, 2013].
Pakistan has very daunting history regarding dams. At the time of partition, county comprised only 3 dams, it includesKhushdil Khan Dam which was built in 1890 and Spin Karzai Dam which was built in 1945.They were all located in water scars area of Baluchistan. The Punjab province consist of only one Dam which was constructed in 1913 in Mianwali District. After partition, the first dam was constructed in 1955 when there was acute shortage of water, the warsik Dam was constructed on Kabul River near Peshawar.
After Partition, one of the early problem which the country faced was the water stoppage by India. It became Copernican to build dams for the storage of water. Due to this alarming threat two large dams were constructed, one is Mangla with the gross storage capacity of 5.88MAF and the other is Tarbala which storage capacity of 11.62MAF. However, the reservoirs are losing their storage capacity.
Storage loss by major reservoirs
|Reservoirs||Original gross storage capacity (MAF)||Storage loss by the year 2003 (MAF)||Storage loss by year 2010 (MAF)|
The above table shows original gross storage capacity of the major reservoirs estimated 18.37MAF. whereas, according to MTDF, by the year 2003, storage loss was estimated as 4.69MAF which was 26% and by the year 2010, the storage loss was calculated as 6.03MAF which was be 33% and still this loss is continue [MTDF, 2003].
Indus river and its tributaries impart approximately 154MAF of water annually. The western rivers contain 144.91MAF of water and eastern side comprise 9.14MAF of water. Out of the above mentioned availability of water 104.73MAF is utilized for irrigation, 34.4MAF flows to see and about 9.9MAF is consumed by the system loss which includes seepage, evaporation and spill during floods. The above mentioned 34.4MAF which flows to the see and from other approximately 9.9MAF, which spill during flood could be stored by building dams and proper management so that such large amount of water could be available for future generations.
Ground water comprise 99% fresh water and easily procurable for the world. Pakistan contained immeasurable quantity of ground water there was also increase in ground water level from 3% to 40%. The water which is used for irrigation purpose is also obtained through underground water by tube wells. The saline is put into drains and water which is not cleaned is utilized for the irrigation purpose, after diluting it with the fresh canal water. But in the last 25 to 30 years especially in the upper Indus plain the ground water is utilized for the canal supplies where the quality of ground water is good. This irrigation of land has been started through tubewels in early 60’s, it is estimated that 50 billion cubic meter is pumpage in all command areas. The total ground water potational in Pakistan was 50MAF but recently it has been calculated that 50 to 55 million MAF is pumped out and only 40 to 45 MAF is recharged. It has also been calculated that 1017 cubic meter per person is the current water requirement and there is presence of only 1000 cubic meter per person, which shows the acute water scarcity.
Water availability in Pakistan has decreased gradually and is come to an alarming shortfall. According to the report of WAPDA, the water availability in year 1981 was 2100 cubic meter and the population was 84M, in 2000 it was calculated that the population was 148M and water availability was 1200 cubic meter. In 2013, population was observed 207M and water availability was 850 cubic meter. It has been calculated that in 2025 population would be 221M and water availability would be 659 cubic meter [WAPDA, 2003].
Per capita water availability in Pakistan
|Year||Population (M)||Per Capita water availability m3|
Pakistan is also facing the acute water shortage comparing to the other countries including USA, Mexico, Iraq, Philippines and China.
The water demand in year 2025 would be more than 200MAF and supply would be 115MAF and shortfall would be more than 100MAF.
The conservation of water is the primal need of today for the endurance of economy, survival of Species hence for the survival of Pakistan. In the condition of scarcity, Islamdo not allow us for the immaterial use of water. If we see the page of Islamic history, we came to know about the struggle of Hazart Hajra for water under blazing sun in burning desert for the search of water, gives us the lesson regarding importance of water. Later, this water was surrounding by the stones to avoid its wastage and stopping it for long time besides saying it “ZAM ZAM” means stop was the first step towards the conservation of water and which gave the idea of construction of dams. The construction of dams in Pakistan is adjuratory, the construction of dams in Pakistan was started after 1947 and only two dams were constructed, while Turkey and India have built 24 and 65 dams respectively in the same period of time.
According WAPDA report more than 5MAF of irrigation could be saved by lining minor canals and in addition 3.6MAFcould be saved. The government of Punjab has taken cardinal steps to overcome the water shortage which is known as “Blue revolution”. This “Blue revolution” technique is used to provide drip irrigation system that directly supply the water to the routes of the crops by saving use of water 30 to 70% and rising crop yield on an average 20% to 90%.
The Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) 2005-10 proposes a water conservation strategy with the aim to improve the performance and utilization of water supply and sanitation system and reducing financial dependence on the Federal and Provincial Governments pertains by
- Adoption of integrated approach, rational resource use, and the introduction of water efficient techniques.
- Containment of environment degradation.
- Institutional strengthening, capacity building and human resource development (HRD).
- Improving performance and utilization of local systems through better planning, management and community participation.
- Improving quality of life and easy access to water supply, especially for women.
- Improving sanitation through sewerage and drainage schemes.
- Promoting increased take up of household sanitation.
- Improving the understanding of the linkages between hygiene and health through community education campaigns, especially among the women and children.
Some other steps that could be taken for the conservation of water is as follow:
- By regulation of the ground water pumpage by issuance of license to check overdraft of aquifer.
- By using “Blue Resolution” water saving technique.
- By storing flood water and the water which is wasted in the sea by building dams.
- By lunching of incentive based upon public campaign emphasizing conservation of water at all levels.
The paper comprises the various Water Resources in Pakistan and its conservation to increase the water availability in future. The cardinal role of water cannot be neglected as water is the first and main surviving element for the life, 71% of our body is composed of water and 70% of the world comprises water. The fresh water (Water Resources in Pakistan) is decreasing very fast and it is well known that the last wars would be fought on fresh water which would led the world to an end. There is need to take immediate steps for the conservation of water to make sure the survival of life, currently and in near future.Last, but not the least, there is need to take into account the importance of water and its conservation at individual level.
Author: Hanzala Zameer is student of LLB in Law Department, Islamia University of Bahawalpur