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Thursday Nov 08 2018

Breakfast with Jang discusses Pakistan's water crisis

LAHORE: Pakistan’s looming water crisis and its solutions was the topic of discussion during the latest session of Breakfast with Jang heled here on Thursday.

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Lieutenant General (retd) Muzammil Hussain was the chief guest of the session moderated by Sikander Lodhi.

Speaking at the occasion, the chairman WAPDA said that funds were not an issue for the Bhasha and Mohmand dams and that construction would be started in 2019.

He said that Jang Group had given a message to the nation that, as in the past, it would continue to fulfill its responsibility of raising the key national issue of the importance of water.

He said that it was important for Pakistan to proceed in the right direction given the prevailing conditions. He said that previous governments made the mistake of focusing on the more expensive thermal power rather than hydropower.

We are all now paying the price of past mistakes, he said, pointing towards the gigantic circular debt in Pakistan's power sector which did not appear to be getting smaller.

"We did not develop institutions. In 1951 Pakistan had a per capita availability of water which was over 5,000 cubic meter per person per annum. The baseline is that if this falls to 3,000 in a country it is considered a water shortage. If it falls to 2,000 the country is considered water stressed and if it falls below 1,000 if becomes water scarce. Pakistan presently stands at 948," he said.

He said that India was continuously violating the Indus Waters Treaty, and that it was crucial for Pakistan to build dams in such conditions.

He said that, not just WAPDA and the government, but the entire nation needs to realize its responsibilities regarding wastage and conservation of water.

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