Dams were constructed to regulate and supplement flows in the irrigation network to sustain Pakistan’s agriculture. These dams are operated primarily according to irrigation requirements of the country while inexpensive hydroelectricity is produced as a byproduct.

Dams are important in every country, not just to help in the hydroelectricity sector and agriculture but also for day-to-day human uses as well. Despite spending millions on development projects like metro buses and motorways, the country still lags behind in assuring the most basic human need: water. There aren’t enough dams in Pakistan: in fact, the only major dams built were only Mangla and Tarbela since then, no focus has been given to this area despite the fact that statistics are nothing but alarming. According to the new facts and figures, the development of hydropower projects is important in order to meet the increasing demand. Due to the increasing population, the per capita water available is decreasing and the natural process of sedimentation is further deteriorating the situation.

The Indus River System Authority has reported that the country wastes about 21 billion dollars worth of water every year just because there aren’t enough proper storage facilities. It has been recommended that considering the current situation of Pakistan, it needs about three dams the size of the Mangla dam to store this extra water. There are no arrangements to store water on monsoon days when there is abundant incoming water and it all ends up flooding areas and eventually into the sea. The already present dams are decades old and due to this, the silt deposits in them have reduced their ability to store water as much as they did before.

It is estimated that if the situation continues to go like this, by the year 2025 Pakistan will lose about 22 billion cubic meters of water. The Pakistan council to research water resources has warned the authorities that the water shortage expected in 2025 will be much worse than that which occurred in 1990. There are organisations which are trying to make the public aware of this issue that is going to strike in just a matter of few years. The awareness will help people get responsible for their own part in which they will try to conserve water as much as they can. Nonetheless, the level of this problem requires measures on a large scale.

Currently, the biggest issue that Pakistan is facing is the water crisis and the consequent electricity shortage. Dams are thought to be the only solution to this and it is high time that concerned authorities realize the sensitivity of this situation and take control as soon as possible.

MUHAMMAD UMAR,

Lahore.