Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Sartaj Aziz, while addressing to the 4th international water conference at the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), in Islamabad, on Tuesday, stressed the importance of making large and small water storages to combat climate change.
Sartaj Aziz urged the political leadership to achieve a consensus on this matter as it is essential for sustainable development and survival of the country. “In years of floods the dams store surplus water and reduces the impact of floods whereas in years of droughts the stored water can mitigate the effects of low rainfall,” he remarked.
“According to the recent census, Pakistan’s population growth rate is 2.4%. In the 11th Five Year Plan (2013-2018) the planning commission estimates for food security, health and education were based on a forecast of 2% population growth rate. This new estimate is a cause for serious concern,” stressed the deputy chairman.
“At the time of partition per capita water availability in Pakistan was 5000 cubic meters which has now declined to 1000 cubic meters per capita that classifies Pakistan as a water scarce country. The projected population on the basis of 2.4% will further jeopardize Pakistan’s water security unless we conserve the available water by growing less water-intensive crops, treating effluence before discharge and giving up lifestyle and habits that waste water,” he added.
“Vision 2025 attaches high importance to climate change and water security. Pillar IV of the document, covering energy, water and food security envisages access to an adequate supply of water for all and requires policies to correct the demand and supply imbalances with a sharp focus on both sides of the equation,” said Sartaj.
He expressed hope that the recommendations emerging from this conference will be useful in formulating policies and recommendations for water security in the 12th Five Year Plan.