The water resources in Pakistan play an important role in the country’s economy. Pakistan is an agricultural country. Water resources in Pakistan mainly consist of surface water and groundwater. The primary source of water in Pakistan are surface water. Pakistan’s water resources are primarily fed by the Indus River and its tributaries. This is about 80% of the country’s water resources.
Pakistan’s water resources can be divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable. Renewable water resources are the amount of water that can be replenished annually through rainfall, snowmelt, and surface runoff. Non-renewable water resources, on the other hand, are the groundwater reserves that are not replenished at a rate that can sustain their extraction.
The Indus River is the largest river in Pakistan and is the country’s primary source of water. It is fed by several tributaries, including the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers. The combined flow of these tributaries contributes significantly to the overall water resources in Pakistan.
The Jhelum River is the first major tributary of the Indus River and originates from the Himalayas in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. It enters Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and then flows through the provinces of Punjab and Sindh. The Jhelum River is a major source of water for irrigation and hydropower generation, with several dams and barrages built along its course.
The Chenab River is the largest tributary of the Indus River, and it also originates from the Himalayas in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. It enters Pakistan in the province of Punjab and then flows through the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh before joining the Indus River. The Chenab River is another significant source of water for irrigation and hydropower generation, with several dams and barrages built along its course.
The Ravi River is another important tributary of the Indus River and originates from the Himalayas in Indian-administered Himachal Pradesh. It enters Pakistan in Punjab and then flows through the provinces of Punjab and Sindh before joining the Chenab River. The Ravi River is a major source of water for irrigation in Punjab, with several barrages built along its course.
The Beas and Sutlej rivers are also important tributaries of the Indus River, but their waters are primarily used by India. Under the Indus Waters Treaty, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Waters_Treaty Pakistan receives only a limited amount of water from these rivers.
Overall, the Indus River and its tributaries are crucial to Pakistan’s water resources, supporting irrigation, hydropower generation, and other economic activities. However, the equitable distribution of water among provinces and the efficient management of water resources are essential to ensure sustainable water use in the country.
Challenges to Water Resources in Pakistan:
Water resources in Pakistan are facing several challenges including uneven distribution, population growth and urbanization, climate change, agricultural practices, industrial and municipal pollution, lack of infrastructure and political and institutional challenges.
Addressing these challenges will require cooperation and coordination between different stakeholders at the local, regional, and national levels, as well as investments in infrastructure, education, and research.
Moreover, climate change is affecting Pakistan’s water resources, with the country experiencing more frequent and intense weather events such as floods and droughts. This further exacerbates the already precarious water situation in the country.
In conclusion, water resources are critical to Pakistan’s economy and well-being. However, the country faces several challenges in managing its water resources sustainably. Addressing these challenges will require a comprehensive approach that includes increasing water storage capacity, improving irrigation efficiency, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Water Storage Problem:
The storage of water resources is a significant problem in Pakistan, as the country’s existing storage capacity is inadequate to meet its growing water needs. Pakistan relies heavily on the Indus River and its tributaries for its water supply, but the country lacks sufficient storage facilities to capture and store water during the monsoon season for use during the dry season.
One major issue is the insufficient number of dams and reservoirs in the country. The construction of new dams has been hampered by a number of factors, including political and bureaucratic hurdles, funding constraints, and environmental concerns. The construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam, for example, has been delayed for years due to these challenges.
Another issue is the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure. Pakistan’s existing dams and reservoirs have been in operation for decades and are in need of upgrades and repairs. However, insufficient funding and technical expertise have hindered efforts to modernize these facilities.
The lack of storage capacity has significant consequences for Pakistan’s agriculture and energy sectors. Without sufficient water storage, farmers are unable to irrigate their crops during the dry season, leading to lower yields and reduced agricultural productivity. Additionally, the country’s hydropower potential is largely untapped due to the lack of storage capacity.
Addressing the problem of storage of water resources in Pakistan will require significant investment in new infrastructure, as well as the rehabilitation of existing facilities. It will also require addressing political and bureaucratic obstacles and engaging in transparent and effective planning and management processes.
Solution of the water storage problem in Pakistan
There are several solutions that can be implemented to address the water storage problems in Pakistan.
Construction of new dams and reservoirs:
Pakistan needs to invest in new infrastructure to increase its water storage capacity. The construction of new dams and reservoirs can capture and store water during the monsoon season for use during the dry season. The Diamer-Bhasha dam and the Mohmand dam are two such projects that have been planned but are yet to be completed.
Rehabilitation of existing infrastructure:
Many of Pakistan’s existing dams and reservoirs are in need of repairs and upgrades. Rehabilitation of these structures will not only increase their storage capacity but also improve their safety and reliability.
Efficient irrigation practices:
Pakistan’s agricultural sector is the largest user of water in the country, and it is essential to implement efficient irrigation practices to reduce water waste. This can be achieved through the use of drip irrigation, laser land leveling, and other modern irrigation technologies.
Investment in research and development:
Investing in research and development of new technologies for water storage and management can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water storage in Pakistan. This can include the development of new materials for dams and reservoirs, and the use of advanced data analytics for water management.
Improved governance and stakeholder engagement:
Addressing the water storage problem in Pakistan will require better governance and engagement with stakeholders at all levels. This includes transparent and effective planning and management processes, and engagement with local communities, farmers, and other stakeholders to ensure that their needs and concerns are taken into account.
In conclusion, the water storage problem in Pakistan is a significant challenge that requires urgent attention and action. The uneven distribution of water resources, population growth, climate change, and inefficient irrigation practices are some of the factors contributing to this problem. However, the construction of new dams and reservoirs, rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, efficient irrigation practices, water conservation, investment in research and development, and improved governance and stakeholder engagement can help address this problem.
It is essential that the government, civil society organizations, and private sector work together to implement these solutions and ensure sustainable management of water resources in Pakistan. This will require a long-term commitment to investing in infrastructure, developing new technologies, and promoting efficient and sustainable water use. By taking proactive steps to address the water storage problem in Pakistan, the country can ensure that its people have access to clean and reliable water, and support economic growth and development.
By: Sadiq Ameen