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FPCCI official highlights water mismanagement

KARACHI - The FPCCI Regional Standing Committee Chairman Ahmad Jawad has said that mismanagement of water and inadequate storages will be biggest threat to the country’s agriculture sector in the near future.

Talking to newsmen here on Tuesday, he said lack of water reservoirs has already caused over a trillion dollars’ worth of economic loss to Pakistan’s economy in the last 30 years, which now manifests itself in the prevalent energy crisis.

“Pakistan has to go for viable projects after every ten years in order to save the mountainous water so that drainage into sea may be minimised, regardless as per the Indus Water Treaty we can’t receive due water share,” he added.

Jawad said Pakistan as a nation is lenient when it comes to the value of water management – whether for drinking, farming, controlling floods, improving environment or generating cheap power. “Despite being potentially the richest nation in the subcontinent, the country, since independence, had been unable to protect water in its river channels. This led the neighbours to overstep their bounds, sparking disputes in an already heated arena,” he said.

He said, “We are a strange agrarian country that has no interest in protecting the backbone of our economy and has not been able to build mega dams for 41 years now.” He said Pakistan is generating just half a dollar from one cubic metre of water - compare that to the world average of $8. In some cases, such as that of Japan, the number inflates to an incredible $30, he added. Contrasting Pakistan’s nonchalant attitude with India’s, he noted that Indian nationalists, since independence, have realised the importance of water for growth.

They established an organisation – International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage – in 1950 as part of the ‘India First’ agenda, he added. “Since then, they have positioned themselves at a level of great influence with multilateral institutes and government agencies worldwide. It now serves hundreds of international clients, even multilateral agencies,” he said.

Pakistan should have at least 200 small, medium and mega dams, but unfortunately it has only 61, out of which only two are mega dams, he said. “If Pakistan can make three more mega dams like Bhasha dam, Kalabagh dam and a general storage dam somewhere up north, things may start going our way,” he underlined.

Source: The Nation