A very dry future
Pakistan faces both immediate and long-term water challenges.
Right now, our primarily problem is that of distribution.
Water is inefficiently diverted for agricultural use, where allocation is done on the basis of the size of landholdings rather than need.
This leads to tiered access to water, with rich landowners getting the lion’s share of water while the landless poor face chronic shortages.
Even within the same communities, women are often dependent on men for access to safe drinking water.
As rivers dry up and chronic drought becomes the norm, the country needs policies in place to ensure the equitable distribution of water.
Conservation policies will have to be put in place and the use of water prioritised.
Along with water, steps to check our burgeoning population will also be needed.
In the political realm, the Indus Waters Treaty may need to be renegotiated and updated to better reflect the reality of climate change.
This dystopian future is not as far away as we think, especially if we continue on our current trajectory.