ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali on Tuesday said that economic development of the country, environmental protection and food security depends upon the availability of water.
While addressing a ceremony held in connection with the International Water Day, the state minister said that quantity of water was about 5260 cubic meter per person when Pakistan came into being but this quantity has decreased up to 1000 cubic meter per person in 2016.
“If timely appropriate measures were not taken, this shortage would reach up to about 809 cubic meters per person by the year 2025 which was a matter of grave concern for all of us”, he added and maintained that it is fear the Pakistan would face the severe shortage of water.
Elaborating the average capacity of water storage of rivers located in different countries of the world, the minister said that Kalaredo river of America has average water storage capacity of approximately 497 %, while in Neel river of Egypt it has 281 %. The annual average flow of river water in Pakistan was about 142 million acre feet and only 10 % of total water was reserved and 90% of water becomes waste.
The minister regretted that our farmers were unaware of the modern sources and techniques of irrigation and past governments did not cooperate to create awareness in farmers in this regard due to which modern system of irrigation could not be utilized.
He said that object to establish WAPDA was to construct water reservoirs in the country and it has built Mangla Dam, Terbela Dam, five barrages, eight link canals since its inception so that water be available for the production of food items.
Highlighting the outstanding of WAPDA, the minister said that it has recently completed the mega water projects including Mirani Dam, Subakzai Dam, Satpara Dam, Gomalzam Dam and Mangla Dam extension.
”The incumbent government while assessing the shortage of water in the country, directed the WAPDA to work on war footage in this regard and land for the construction of proposed Bhasha Dam was being purchased successfully and construction work would be started very soon”, the minister added.
He further said that work on Karam Tungi Dam and design of Munda Dam have been completed while small dams were being constructed in various parts of four provinces of the country for irrigation purpose. These water reservoirs would not only meet the water requirement of the country and cause development of agriculture but generate the job opportunities for common people also.
The minister said that construction of Gomal Zam Dam and Karam Tungi Dam in the areas of South Waziristan Agency and North Waziristan Agency respectively would not only be helpful in making thousands of acre of land cultivatable but generate the economic resources for local people also. The thing would be helpful in eliminating extremism and terrorism in those areas.
He said that incumbent government has set the following priorities which include construction of new water reservoirs in the country, to provide assistance to farmers for modern irrigation system including drip irrigation and supper looker irrigation, availability of pure drinking water, to increase the generation of hydro power, and to reserve the flood water with the cooperation of WAPDA for agriculture purposes which could save the country from drought and losses of flood water.