Lahore to face major underground water shortage in next seven years, experts warn

LAHORE – Lahore may face huge water shortage by the year 2025, if the depletion of groundwater continues with the same pace.
The absence of national water policy and rapid growth in urbanization are the big factors behind this threat.
The alarming situation was disclosed on Thursday during a session conducted by World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) under the project titled International Labour and Environmental Standards (ILES) implementation in Pakistan’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in collaboration with Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resource s(PCRWR), Irrigation Research Institute (IRI), Irrigation Department and Government of Punjab.
The participants were informed that the groundwater level of Lahore is depleting at a rate of 2.5 to 3 feet per year.
Currently, more than 160 million litres of groundwater is extracted per day thru hand pumps, motor pumps and tube wells in addition to the amount of water used for the industrial and recreational purpose.
According to the experts, the consumption pattern of water in the city was highly unsustainable as it was not just depleting the groundwater but also contaminating the Ravi which is the main source of water recharge in the city.
WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said that Pakistan was a water-stressed country and the situation will worsen in the near future.
He added that the industrial units around the city were a major factor in contaminating groundwater as they keep disposing water contaminated with copper, chromium, and nickel.
Ghulam Zakir Hassan Sial, Director Irrigitation Research Institute (IRI), Irrigation Department, Government of Punjab, said that the depletion of groundwater has become severe over the years and that the Groundwater Act may help in the restoration of Lahore’s groundwater.
Other stakeholders were of the view that the safe drinking water should be made available to the population while the industries need to ensure proper disposal solid and liquid waste.

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