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Global Challenges and Pakistan

  • Date Submitted: 09/08/2012 06:44 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.8 
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Imtiaz Ahmed*
he rapid growth in the use of water in the
last half century has resulted in universal
awareness of the limited stocks of fresh
water and, in the light of the increasing
demands, the need for conservation. There is
also a realisation that international climatechange
may have some influence on the water
availability picture of the future.
Because of its geographical location, Pakistan
is mostly an arid and semiarid country.
However, it is fortunate to have 3 major rivers
(the Indus, Jhelum and the Chenab) flowing
from the bordering region to sustain irrigation
and hence agriculture. The use and
development of the potential of Indus River,
the major contributor (above 60%), has been
central to sustaining agriculture. The Indus is
basically a snow-fed river; because of global
warming, the extent of snow cover is rapidly
decreasing, and this may affect its base-flow.
A macro-scale hydrological model for riverflow
suggests that the runoff of the Indus will
decrease by 27% by the year 2050.
Pakistan’s population is increasing at a rate of
about 2.6% p.a. and the use and demand of
water is increasing faster. Additional demand
for water will come from the anticipated
improvements in the standard of living,
through greater economic activity. Increase in
industrial activity will also require additional
water. Our underground water-resources are
already being exploited to the maximum.
Increase in sustainable water-resources in the
country can be achieved through a
combination of groundwater-aquifers and large
and small surface-water facilities. This
combination will be critical to meeting the
water needs of the twenty-first century.
Incorporating realistic scenarios of waterresources
is a fundamental element of
sustainable development. Water-resources
and climate change not only affect agriculture,
but they also affect urban centres, industry


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