Pakistan is a water-stressed country and an innovative mindset is needed
ISLAMABAD: Despite having one of the world’s largest glaciers, Pakistan is at risk of water scarcity and is among the 36 most water-stressed countries in the world.
Factors contributing to increased water demand include rapid increase in population, low water-usage efficiency, an extremely water-intensive economy and poor management of water resources and absence of a national water policy.
Pakistan has the world’s fourth-highest water-usage rate.
Pakistan’s economy is the world’s most water-intensive economy; which means that the amount of water utilised in cubic metres per unit of GDP is the world’s highest, which signifies that productivity/efficiency is the lowest in the world.
Some studies suggest efficiencies as low as 33%, for canal irrigation.
The country can increase productivity of water without increasing water supply.
Increasing pressure on irrigation departments by farmers to become accountable and efficient, emergence of progressive farmers, introducing high-value crops and using latest agricultural technologies can greatly increase the efficiency of irrigation-water.
Drip irrigation and micro sprinklers can increase efficiency from less than 60% to more than 95%.
Drip Irrigation can reduce water requirement from 35% to 40%, though it is expensive for the poor farmers.
Bottom-line is that if we cannot increase the supply of our freshwater, then efficiency must be increased to balance supply and demand for a sustainable future.