Pakistan's Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, on Monday raised the issue of water scarcity while Pakistan is designated as one of the three most water-stressed countries in the world as the intense water crisis in the country has led to severe droughts.
Speaking at a press conference following a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, she warned that Pakistan could face an acute shortage of water by 2025. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a task force to deal with climate change amid heatwave and the melting of glaciers in the country.
The minister further warned that in future more glaciers would burst which was a matter of concern, adding that the Indus, which was a jugular vein of the country as major agriculture was dependent on this river, had been facing an acute shortage of water, particularly after Kotri barrage downstream.
The 'Global Food Policy Report 2022' has cautioned that summer heatwaves are projected to increase at a rate of 0.71 days per decade in the country, increase in the intensity and severity of droughts in Pakistan, Dawn stated, quoting the report.
Another report released by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), says water scarcity in Pakistan is projected to worsen with climate change. Himalayan glaciers, an important source of rivers in South Asia, have lost more mass since 2000 than in the entire twentieth century, it read.
The imminent water crisis in Pakistan has turned worse as the total number of river supplies has taken a great plunge to 97,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) recently and the national water shortage in the country has dropped down to 51 per cent against the calculated total of 29 per cent.
Of the world's five basins where water scarcity-led GDP losses are projected to be highest, three (Indus, Sabarmati, and Ganges-Brahmaputra) are in South Asia. In the Indus Basin alone, GDP losses by 2100 are expected to exceed $5,000 billion, Dawn reported.
Climate change presents immediate and long-term challenges for South Asia such as glacier melt, sea-level rise, groundwater depletion, extreme weather events, and frequency of natural hazards that are likely to worsen in coming decades. The report warns that Pakistan's pre-existing crisis -- high levels of poverty, and governance challenges will amplify the region's climate risks, with potentially devastating effects if warming continues at this pace.
The unprecedented suite of climatic changes has also caused crop yield decline and production losses in the region, with a few exceptions for certain crops and sub-regions.
In Pakistan, the decline in rice and wheat yields are observed with climate change through the use of heat-tolerant varieties has provided some resilience and forestalled greater impacts.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan's per capita annual water availability has slumped to 1,017 cubic metres from 1,500 cubic metres in 2009. Currently, the nation is very close to the scarcity threshold of 1,000 cubic metres, and going by the current development, the country is set to reach danger levels soon. (ANI)