Alternative for dams and Water Supply Expansion

Sound water resource management needs strategic planning include overlay environmental laws, environmental impact assessments, enforcement and dozen other supportive and inter connected Regulations, Acts and Policies are certainly needed; without which it will never be affective. Some of these are as following:

Land use regulations, zoning laws, watershed management law, safe drinking water ct, water resources management Act, water conservation ordinance, water bodies regulation and related laws, water pollution and regulation, rain water harvesting, storm water management and water recycling laws and policies, water resources commission Act, flood control Act, environmental regulations, public health regulation and regulation of fisheries, navigation control Act, irrigation policy, environmental management Act, water rights, clean water Act, wet land protection law, agricultural law, land management and development law, climate change and drought management policy and law and forest and natural resource preservation and management Act etc. Some are urgently needed as:

In Pakistan the land use regulations need urgent attention of the law and policy making institutes. Currently we have no zoning laws and our precious agricultural land, watershed areas and water quality is compromised due to ever increasing development pressure in those areas. Also our development is mainly disorganized and no guidance and education is available to the developers that which place is for building and how to develop or build a land? In order to protect the water shed and agricultural land from development and to mange flood (our development is in water channels or near the water channels) and to sustain the nation’s water, it is highly recommended that the government should regulate the land use planning and supportive laws.

Water resource management on municipality level demands proper code, design and materials standard to build environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings to assure water and energy sustainability and stable water recharge. It is possible only if we regulate our buildings development and acquire modern technology to harvest our rain water, manage storm water and recycle grey water on each facility level and its usage for non potable use and also to increase green surfaces in buildings to continuously renew and recharge our ground water. Though our existing buildings are the biggest consumers of water and energy and there are more hard or paved surfaces than the percolated surfaces which encourage more water runoff and zero infiltration or aquifer recharge under ground.

Due to no legal guidance and proper education, human nature damaging activities every where, in our country have ruined our most pristine and environmentally friendly areas. Northern areas are the most precious localities in terms of all its natural resources, i.e., forest, glaciers, minerals, wetlands, streams, snow, head water, biodiversity, green areas, fruits and its indigenous people. It needed regulations and strict enforcement and special facilities to the local people to preserve it for the sake of our country sustainability. It could provide continuous supply of water to our rivers and recharge our ground water but due to no control on the human unfriendly environmental activities, caused snow dusting and flash flood due to which the whole biota is troubled. Mining activities in the region has tripled the situation by harming the natural chemistry of the area and the surrounding snow volume. Also due to no proper fuel facilities for local people, our precious trees and natural vegetation are in danger. In order to manage our water resources, a strategic planning and policy regulation of the source of head water of these areas must be included in our national water policy and the related problems must be resolved on priority basis. All environmentally damaging activities must be stopped urgently. In developed countries usually the conservationists and environmentalist have strong lobby to save the earth and its natural resources. A live example of Alaska is enough for our learning where ecology is fully preserved, though it is rich in all sort of natural resources.

Our diplomatic solution for ensuring the stable quantity of water in our rivers must be prioritized and strictly enforced to save our aquatic habitats and continuous recharge of our aquifers. Dams and reservoirs transboundry affect the water flow in our rivers and connected habitats and must be immediately negotiated bilaterally.

Water conservation and efficiency have much potential to deliver sufficient water supplies with out further relying on the construction of dams and storage reservoirs whilst, protecting the environmental habitats, recreation activities and agriculture at the lowest cost. These solutions have proven benefits to meet the current and future challenges. However it will require a new way of thinking about the water demand and supply management. These are cheaper, faster and the most reliable and can be adopted readily. Regulation of conservation and efficiency will ensure its implementation practices and can encourage creative competition in the technological measures uniformly in the country and its enforceability will become easier.

Water Resource Policy should also include the following water management principles:

Regulatory measures to encourage water conservation.

Improve the use of existing water supply infrastructure by integrating system and sharing resources among the water users to avoid unnecessary new diversions and duplications of facilities.

Recognize the fundamental political and economic inequalities and the adverse environmental impacts of new Tran’s basin diversion by damming water and storage reservoirs.

Invest in infrastructure that expand or rehabilitate existing dams, reservoirs and supply structures before constructing new, costly and most environmentally damaging projects.

Balance the coordinated use of ground and surface water supplies in a manner to increase supply reliability because ground water and surface water are interdependent.

Involve all stake holders in decision making process and fully address the inevitable environmental and socioeconomic impacts of increasing water supplies.

Design and operate multi purpose projects to spread project benefits and cost and to ensure adequate water flow in rivers to support healthy ecosystem, even if the surface water affects due to the climate change.

Protect the nation streams, rivers and lakes as integral part in any future water resource development strategy because the non consumptive uses of water---for fishing, water creation and other uses are of worth billion dollars to our country and is important to the quality of life.

Incorporate water resource issue as early as possible in the land use planning process.

Address water resource issue at catchment and sub catchment level.

Ensure storm water management, rain water harvesting and water recycle as integral parts of the total water cycle and natural resource management and regulate its protection, conservation and reuse.

Protect rural communities and their access to reliable water supplies.

Create incentive for cooperation between the water users for the joint maintenance and operation of the water supply infrastructures.

Implement more aggressive water conservation and efficiency strategies because these are the cheapest, fastest and smartest ways to gain new water supply and to meet increased demand.

Introduce and develop water banking system (retention of water techniques in aquifers and in reservoirs) and its alternative transfer are important potential water conservation and management tools.

Provide more financial incentives and financing mechanisms for industries and citifies to conserve and reuse existing water supply.

Emphasize more on sharing of water between the existing users.

Maximize the role of reuse of water and improve its perception among the users.

Invest in public education about water conservation and efficiency and related research and technology to conserve water in every water consumption sector.

Regulate water conservation in new building construction or renovation of existing building and integrate the efforts of the design professionals, city managers and building developers to conserve water.

A robust research in science and modification in technological measures is needed for conservation and high efficiency i.e. plumbing fixtures, appliances, agricultural tools and practices, machinery and water saving cooling processes on residential, institutional, commercial, agriculture and industrial level and easy access to education, qualified professional assistance and availability of the required tools, appliances and machinery locally.

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