From 'water stressed' to 'water starved' Pakistan.

Pakistan can run out of wa ter by 2025 and will slip down from 'water stressed': to a 'water starved' country, the data provided by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) and Indus River System Authority (IRSA) suggest.

The report further suggests that in case corrective measures are not taken on war-footing for water conservation and water harvesting then by year 2030, the country can face civil war over drinking water. Ministry of water resources formulated National Water Policy in 2018 which revealed some damning numbers about water availability in Pakistan. Per capita surface water availability has declined from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016.

This quantity is likely to further drop to about 860 cubic meters by 2025 marking our transition from a 'water stressed' to a 'water scarce' country (minimum water requirement to avoid food and health implications of water scarcity is 1,000 cubic meters per capita per year).

The situation calls for rapid development and management of the country's water resources on a war footing. Three major sources of water in Pakistan are snowmelt, ground water and rainfall. According to PCRWR, 140 MAF (million acre feet) water comes in the river and rain water is accounted of 7MAF. According to a report by IRSA actual surface water availability in 2021-2022 was 92.5 MAF which saw a decrease of 10.6% of average system usage which is 103.5 MAF. The highest decrease was seen in year 2018-2019 which was 18.5% of total usage and availability of water.

The current storage capacity is inadequate as the three major water reservoirs in Pakistan, i.e. Mangla (1967), Tarbela (1978) and Chashma (1971), have a total designed capacity of 15.75 MAF, which has been reduced to 13.1 MAF due to sedimentation. These reservoirs can only save water for up to 30 days; however, the lowest requirement of water storage internationally is 120 days. Most of the advanced countries have water storage capacity of 1 to 2 years. Diamer, Bhasha, Mohmand and Dasu dams are under construction right now and they have collective designed capacity of 12 MAF. Islamabad is capital of Pakistan and is the only planned city in the country. Islamabad is also facing major water crisis like rest of Pakistan.

The last water reservoir built for Islamabad was Khanpur Dam which was built in 90's. Khanpur Dam, Simli Dam and tube wells provides water for Islamabad. According to CDA officials' population...

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