Experts call for action as inevitable water crisis looms globally
Indus river near Skardu. Photo credits: WWF-Pakistan

Experts call for action as inevitable water crisis looms globally

Experts believe that about 700 million people globally may be displaced due to lack of water as the demand is rising every year

The world’s water demand may increase by 55% in the year 2050 due to the constant increase in the manufacturing activities. This could lead to about 700 million people being displaced around the globe. On average, a human needs 50 liters of water a day to carry out normal life.

“Water is essential to life on Earth, but we often overlook just how fragile our relationship with water can be. More than 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. But globally water demand is projected to increase by 55% by 2050, mainly due to growing demands from the manufacturing sector”. This was stated by WWF-Pakistan experts during an event on World Water Day 2021 held virtually.

World Water Day is celebrated every year to emphasize the importance of freshwater resources, to shed light on the global water crisis, and inspire people to take action to safeguard this invaluable, but limited resource. The primary aim of marking the day is to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030. The theme of World Water Day this year is valuing water.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said that the per capital water availability in Pakistan has reduced from 5,600 m3(the 1950s) to less than 1,000 m3. Climate change has a direct impact on the resources, leading to floods and droughts.  

He added that despite this we are contaminating our rivers due to a lack of water treatment systems in major metropolitans. To address these issues, we must value our water resources. ‘WWF-Pakistan has taken various initiatives in collaboration with the government, private sector and other stakeholders for water conservation and replenishment such as recharge wells, rainwater harvesting, floodplain management, floating wetlands among others’, he added.

Besides these initiatives, WWF-Pakistan, with the government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and Federal Flood Commission (FFC) under the Ministry of Water Resources, has launched a programme titled ‘Recharge Pakistan: Building Pakistan’s Resilience to Climate Change through Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Integrated Flood Risk Management’ with a 30-year vision.

A number of projects are underway in different areas of the country to conserve the water available. The approach is to manage floods, hill torrent management and green infrastructure. The proposed sites are are scattered along a 1,500 km stretch of the Indus River, from Tarbela Dam (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province) to Kotri Barrage (in Sindh Province).

Speaking about other water-related interventions WWF-Pakistan is working on, Sohail Ali Naqvi, Senior Manager Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan said that efforts are being made to provide safe drinking water to local communities through the installation of water filtration plants. He also shared that campaigns were undertaken to build the capacity of civil society organizations to revitalize the ecosystem of river basins in Pakistan.

Naqvi added that WWF-Pakistan has been actively involved in the protection of ecology of freshwater bodies in high conservation value areas of Pakistan through initiatives such as conservation of the Indus River Dolphin, conducting ecological baseline studies, and conserving wetlands of Pakistan.

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