71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, and our oceans hold 96.5% of it. Water can be found in the form of moisture all around us. If water is so abundant then why are we in a water crisis? In order to survive, water is an absolute necessity, and it must be refined before it can be consumed for general purposes. Some factors which limit the production of pure water are lack of refinery plants, inflation, wastage, climate change and orthodox agricultural practices.
Pakistan is a water-scarce country because water availability is less than 1,000-metre cube per person, if it reaches 500-metre cube then water will be negligible by 2025. 80% of people residing in 24 major cities have been deprived of clean water, while access to running water has sadly become a luxury. Unfortunately, the general public is forced to buy water through water tankers, which can be quite expensive for the population below the poverty line. Moreover, these water tankers are controlled by a mafia, which increases prices without any regulation and can also shut the water supply at their leisure.
The increasing population of more than 220 million makes Pakistan one of the most water-intensive countries in the world. Furthermore, poor agricultural practices, such as using a canal system, wastes water and does not bring back maintenance and operation costs. Most of the water used by the agricultural industry goes untaxed, therefore increasing water prices in the private sector. Politics surrounding water storage and building of dams has further intensified the water crisis. Lack of awareness and corruption has also driven Pakistan to become water-stressed.
As the future of our nation, how can we sustainably use water? Firstly, we should take responsibilities for our own actions and start from our home. Research has shown that decreasing the amount of time in showers and the sink can reduce water consumption. Throwing away filled water bottles and wasting water in “fun-filled” activities contributes to the water crisis. This is our responsibility as citizens of Pakistan.
We can urge our government to invest in water storage, better dams can increase our water capacity and the abundance in water can help people in need. Advanced desalination plants are a must. We are blessed with many freshwater resources so must utilize them. Our sewage system needs to have a better design in order to reduce excessive wastage. Efficient agricultural practices can educate farmers on the use of water. Moreover, students should run campaigns on the water crisis to increase awareness amongst people who are illiterate.
Water is a scarce natural resource which will be a deciding factor to make or break a country in the upcoming years. We should not take it for granted and should use it responsibly. It is our duty to educate the importance of this issue to our friends, family and children since there is a dire need to solve this crisis with utmost urgency.
By: Arwa Sohail – Business Studies / Accounting