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Senate body concerned over food security, water scarcity

Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Thursday expressed serious concern over the threat to food security and scarcity of water in the future from impacts of global warming. The committee was met under the chairmanship of Senator Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, while Senator Sitara Ayaz, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Nuzhat Sadiq, Saleem Zia, Samina Abid and Mushahid Hussaain Syed also attended the committee.

Director General, Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), Irfan Tariq, told a committee ‘Production of wheat has dropped 15 percent due to shift in monsoon season. Monsoons have shifted some 100 kilometers above agriculture plains, higher towards the northern areas. Climate Change will have far reaching effects on Pakistan’s over all economy,’

‘The rationing became necessary after water levels in both Simli and Khanpur dams dropped significantly. Now until the monsoon rains refill the dams, rationing of water is likely to continue,’ said Director Water Supply, MCI, Nasir Jamil.

He said that water levels in both Simli and Khanpur dams have dropped more than 30 feet. He attributed less winter rains, which recharge the capital’s water sources to last through the warm spell, to global changes in weather patterns.

Secretary Climate Change, Syed Abu Ahmed Akif complained that there was not a drop of water in his Sector F-6. ‘We have been at the mercy of water tankers for many days,’.
Senators, Sitara Ayaz and Mushahid Hussain Syed, expressed shocked over shortage of water in Islamabad.Both members urged the chairman of the committee, Senator Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, for a dedicated meeting on Islamabad’s water crisis. Nasir Jamil explained to the committee the water in Simli Dam was down to 2, 356 feet, compared with 2, 286 last year. Water in Khanpur Dam was down to 1, 925 feet compared to 1, 955 feet last year.

‘The draw down has also been noticed up to 25 to 30 feet in ground water source reducing yield of tube wells,’ he added. According to the official, out of 192 tube wells 42 were out of order due to lack of maintenance from shortage of funding. While 20 will likely become functional within a month, remaining have become obsolete.

The official said that due to these reasons, the MCI had to resort to rationing to prolong usage of water up to monsoon in accordance with dam standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Secretary, Climate Change, Syed Abu Akif, proposed the government to charge residents for mining ground water. ‘This will discourage wastage of water and develop a sense of importance to conserve it,’ Abu Akif said.

Chairman Capital Development Authority, Sheikh Ansar Aziz, told the committee that a pipeline was being constructed to bring water from the Indus River System for Islamabad and Rawalpindi. ‘Work is in progress on the pipeline. Once completed, the twin cities will have 100 million gallons water per day each,’ said Sheikh Ansar Aziz.

Director General Environmental Protection Agency Farzana Iltaf briefed the committee regarding Environmental Impact Assessment on Metro bus project that, in this going project 800 trees have been cut off and NHA made a commitment to plant 10 tress for a 1 tree that had been cut in this project.

She told with the help of ITP they have planned a route for the resident of G 13 sector and new gas pipelines would be installed after Ramzan so that resident would not face any inconvenience in Ramzan.—APP

Source: Pakistan Observer