August 01, 2013
Water is basis of all life and has been declared as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However successive governments have not batted an eye over the construction of scores of hydro-electric dams on our Western rivers by India that would critically reduce the flow of water in the rivers feeding Pakistan.
It is a well known fact that water cannot be imported like gas, coal and furnace oil and water wars can result if a country becomes water stressed due to neighbours stopping its life giving waters. Recently Egypt has given an ultimatum of war to Ethiopia if the latter were to build upstream dams to stop the historic flow of Blue Nile that feeds the other branch of White Nile flowing into Egypt that sustain the agriculture of Egypt. Countries like Saudi Arabia have ground stores of oil but no water and as a result water sells at a higher rate there than milk or soft drinks. The real value of Kalabagh dam water i.e. 6.1 maf would exceed $ 100 billion if ever exported to water deficit countries but we are obvious to its use in a hydro electric dam that would store enough water to irrigate about 4 million acres of virgin land in Pakistan and generate 3600 mw of cheap power in addition to mitigating heavy losses due to floods that ravage our country each year. Let us hope wisdom dawns on the water advisers of Prime Minister to truly advise the Prime Minister on the stakes involved i.e. the existential threat to Pakistan that is visible on the horizon with the latest assault on our river waters by India especially in trying to control the river Chenab waters to our clear disadvantage.
DR.MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI,
Lahore, July 28.