Expert stresses desilting of dams to meet water needs.

Byline: Shazia Hasan

KARACHI -- 'There has not been much thought given to the silting issue when speaking of dams here. The capacity in Mangla and Tarbela dams has decreased in the last 40 years due to silting. So are we to build a new dam every 40 years due to this?' said architect and town planner Arif Hasan during his inaugural speech at the Water Conference titled 'Political Economy and Issues of Water Management' organised by the Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences at the Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan Auditorium of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology here on Saturday.

He also said that there was also the issue of the Indus delta, which is also going into the background these days. 'Some engineers believe that the water which flows into the sea is wasted. And no one is challenging this notion anymore. A former chief justice also thought so and said that he won't let a drop of water be wasted this way. He even went further by saying that those who were against the building of new dams were enemies of the state,' he said.

Coming to a third issue regarding water here, he said that around 92 to 95 per cent of water in Pakistan was being used by the agriculture sector and the population of this country of about 200 million was fast growing. 'Then what will we do when the population needs will increase and they will need more water? Where will they get water from? Therefore, water conservation is also needed,' he said.

'No one is challenging the notion that the water flowing into the sea is wasted'

He also said that as a fourth issue, the underground water table was going down for which there was a huge need for proper water management, coming to things such as regulating of water pumping, storing rainwater, water rationing in cities with bulk metering, etc, which needed maintenance budgets and infrastructure investment.

Executive director of Roots for Equity Dr Azra Talat Sayeed spoke about 'Understanding water dynamics'. Sharing figures, she said that the total water of the world added up to around 1,359 million cubic kilometres comprising mostly of ocean and...

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