We and World Water Day

The United Nations has been holding World Water Day annually on March 22nd since 1993 as a mean to focus on the importance and efficient sustainable management of fresh water. Water is not in plenty as generally up-held by the people. Nature has provided mankind hydrosphere which includes all water resources, mainly oceans which hold 70.8 per cent of the earth surface and 97 per cent of earths water but high salt content (3 per cent) makes the water inedible. The polar icecaps and glaciers consist of 2 per cent of water but it is not accessible. So, humans are only left with 1 per cent of total earths water resources as fresh water i.e., surface water, rivers, lakes, streams, and ground water. 60 per cent of the fresh water is being used by agriculture, 23 per cent by industry and 8 per cent by the people. So, there is need to educate the people for the cautious use of water, that is why the UN took initiative to commemorate World Water Day in 1992 during a Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. All efforts are down to observe the Water Day round the world. Pakistan, one of the most stressed and among the 17 countries facing water shortage, lets the day pass away. This year theme, WATER FOR CITIES: was in response to cater the need of water in urban areas. Urbanization and demographic changes pose serious threats to secure water supplies for future generations. 1.2 billion People are without clean drinking water and UN estimates 3 billion people may suffer water shortages by year 2025. Quantity and quality of water are two separate things. Many people have an access to inedible water and almost 10,000 children under age-5 in Third World countries die with the use of impure water. Each person requires around 13 gallons of water per day however, people in US use at an average 132 gallons, in Canada 79 gallons and in England 52 gallons. So, the rich countries have much access to water. Water shortage, deteriorating water quality, greater demand, droughts, urbanization, industrial expansion, etc. threaten water resources. Water reuse is the optimal solution apart from judicious use. California uses effectively 'membrane system and produced about 34 billion gallons of water. Singapore uses this system to meet 30 per cent of its need. So, the world community is not only aware of the problem but is also taking remedial steps as well. Water scarcity is alarming in Pakistan. According to WB report, water supply has fallen from 5,000 m3 per capita to 1,000 m3 in 2010 in Pakistan and is likely to further reduce to 800 m3 by 2020. Water crisis in Pakistan has two dimensions. First is the distribution of water among its provinces and the second is between India and Pakistan. 34 per cent shortage of water is due to construction of Bagliar dam. It will go down because of planned construction of Basrur Project, Siwal Kot dam and Pakot dam on the Chenab River by India. India is also constructing the Uri Power Plant (240 MW) and Kishan Ganga Power Plant (330 MW) on the river Jehlum. Under Indus Basin Treaty, India can utilize limited irrigation (i.e. 2.85 MAF) water from three rivers (Chenab, Jehlum, and Sindh). So, to engage India to resolve water crisis is the first step towards the solution. 142 MAF water, flow on annual basis in Pakistani rivers. 104 MAF is diverted to canals and 38 MAF water is lost in rivers. 25 per cent of canal water is lost as line losses and only 78 MAF of water is left in hand. The potential for ground water extraction is 40 MAF. So, collectively 118 MAF is available in water courses heads. There is only 70 MAF water available after a total loss of 51 per cent. If we only control water losses, there will be a minimum shortage of water. World powers are engaged in building water reservoirs. Pakistan has two major and a dozen small reservoirs whereas, China has 83,000 reservoirs. Various dams are under construction, 95 in China, 51 in Turkey, 48 in Iran, 40 in Japan, and 10 in India. The goal for 2015 targets 93 per cent access to clean water and 65 per cent target is achieved. It is said that future wars will spring out of disputes over water. So we should understand the gravity of crisis. Agriculture sectors contributing 21.5 per cent GDP and employees 40 per cent of workforce, mainly depend on water. So, our bread and butter rely on water. That is why Quaid remarked Kashmir Jugular vein of Pakistan. Our sagacious leaders realized the fact 60 years ago and we should heed to Quaids saying

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