Pakistan's Water Crisis

Endangered species esp. plants and animals (ii) impact of overuse of chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, & pest controls on our lives (iii) wild-life of Pakistan and (iv) other interesting notes about the environmental issues again relevant to Pakistan.

Moderator: Izhar

Post Reply
mikhurram
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1331
Joined: August 27th, 2012, 9:08 pm
Country: Pakistan
City: Lahore
Gardening Interests: Rose, Iris, Daylilies, Bulbs, Rhizomes, Perennial flowers & Fragrant plants.

Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by mikhurram » November 4th, 2013, 4:43 pm

Scarcity of water threatens the existence of Pakistan already saddled with burgeoning population by 2025. Members residing in Karachi would be more aware of the city's dependency on water tankers for provision of water.

A few facts on the harsh ground reality based on reports of Economist Magazine and Pakistan Business Council. The facts are quite alarming are as follows:

Pakistan is one of World’s most arid countries.

Availability of water/person has dropped from 5000 cubit metres in the 1950’s to 1100 cubic metres in 2012.

¼ th of Pakistan’s land is cultivated consuming 90% of its fresh water supplies.

Intensive irrigation regimes and poor drainage practices have caused water logging and soil salinity throughout Pakistan's countryside rendering to waste vast expanses of rich agricultural lands which are now too wet or salty to yield any meaningful harvests.

By 2025 it is estimated that water supply in Pakistan will fall short of demand by roughly 100 million cubic metres (around half the flow of river Indus)

20 Hydel Projects being constructed by India on western rivers (Indus, Jehlum and Chenab) allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. 10 more Hydel projects are in the pipeline and many more slated for completion by India.

Each of these projects conform to the letter of the Indus Water Treaty, since it does not involve storage but merely run-of-the-river dams, in which water is returned downstream after it has been used to generate power. In 2005, when Pakistan complained about another Indian hydro project, the dispute went to arbitration. That resulted in a ruling broadly favourable to India. Pakistan feels that the spirit of the agreement has been breached and the treaty needs revision, partly because advances in technology make it possible to build dams that were not foreseen when the deal was signed. Prof. John Briscoe’s thesis “War or Peace on the Indus” based on his book.

A report by Sir David Lilienthial prepared on Pakistan’s water supply based on instructions of President Truman in 1951 noted that “Why the flow of Punjab’s lifeline was so carelessly handled in the partition no one seems to know. Pakistan includes some of the most productive food growing lands in the world in western Punjab and Sindh. But without water for irrigation this would be a desert. 20 million acres would dry up in a week. Tens of millions would starve. No army with bombs and shellfire could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by a simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting off the sources of water supply. The partition gave the major part of the irrigated land of Punjab and Sindh to Pakistan but the headworks of the largest irrigation canals that feed Pakistan are based in India. Two thirds of the river supply of Indus originates from Kashmir where the snow fed Indus rises”

SOLUTIONS
Building small, medium sized and mega dams. Pakistan badly needs more reservoirs. Storage is essential to providing supplies in winter (two-fifths of the Indus's flow comes from the summer melting of glaciers) but Pakistan's two big dams (Mangla & Turbela) are silting up. Pakistan would like to build a new one (Diamer Basha) in Pakistani Kashmir, but India has objected, and the money is not forthcoming. Storage would be the main benefit offered by Diamer Bhasha, besides the much-needed electricity generation and flood control. Another big dam, Kalabagh, under discussion for years, may never be built, because it would be in Punjab province and Sindh has objected

But many experts believe that Pakistan also needs some megadams, which are more controversial. They point out that, whereas America and Australia have dams that can hold 900 days-worth of river run-off, Pakistan can barely store 30 days-worth in the Indus basin.

Repairing and modernising canal systems

Developing spate irrigation schemes that divert flash floods to replenish aquifers.

Stopping electricity subsidies that encourage water-intensive agriculture

Concluded

So how can we contribute to alleviate the coming water crisis. Perhaps the time has come to choosing drought tolerant plants like Bouganvilla and how about creating a post on drought tolerant plants?

I am thankful to our esteemed member & valued contributor (Dr Farooq for his input, yes he is a PhD in Chemistry and i am revealing this information only after seeking his consent).

Note: The excerpts in the post were based on excerpts taken from the following link and viewers interested can visit the url for further details.

To the last drop: How to avoid water wars
http://www.economist.com/node/16136364

Going with the flow
http://www.economist.com/node/21546883

Report on water “Save Water: Save Pakistan” prepared by Pakistan Business Council which can be downloaded in the url mentioned below.
Part A: http://www.pbc.org.pk/assets/pdf/Water_ ... Part_1.pdf
Part B: http://www.pbc.org.pk/assets/pdf/Water_ ... Part_2.pdf
http://www.pbc.org.pk/assets/pdf/Water_Presentation.pdf

khabbab
Founder
Founder
Posts: 1415
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 10:35 pm
Country: Pakistan
City: Lahore
Gardening Interests: Climbers, fragrant plants, drought tolerant plants, container plants
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
Contact:

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by khabbab » November 4th, 2013, 5:09 pm

You have pointed towards an important topic. In our harsh summers, watering needs of plants increase to a great extent. Keeping in view the failure of our government in saving waters and other necessary measures, what else we can do to save the water needs?

Drought tolerant plants are a good idea. But i feel the crave for growing beautiful flowering plants etc. is hard to resist. I remember, Zahrah nasir discouraged the use of plants like pansy, primula and advocated in favor of mesembryanthemum, california poppy and gazania being drought tolerant. Perhaps a list of drought tolerant plants for lahore and other climates is very much of need.
Lahore gardening blog
http://www.lahoregardening.com

newton
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 522
Joined: April 13th, 2013, 11:16 pm
Country: uk
City: jhelum

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by newton » November 4th, 2013, 10:27 pm

Very informative article Iran Sb, thank you for that.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sensationally claimed in its 2007 assessment report that the glaciers supplying most of India and Pakistan could vanish by 2035, creating seasonally based rivers and effectively rendering the whole of the fertile agricultural region of the Punjab into a desert. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_dat ... 0-6-2.html

Thankfully over recent times researchers have shown the report was flawed. It confirmed over the last ten years the Himalayan and Karakoram glacier melt rate has accelerated incredibly fast. Some of the glaciers may well disappear but there are still other complex ones which will supply the melt water albeit at a lower rate. However there is also the caveat that between now and the next research report they have to rely on the evidence they have and what that presents is not reassuring.

I am unfamiliar with the finer content of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 but one of the issues of pressing concern however is that since India's economic boom most of its rivers are now severely polluted with sewage and industrial effluent rendering them poisonous to all forms of life. Secondly the various dam and hydropower generating projects like the indian Kishinganga project dramatically increase silting further downstream in Pakistan.

The subject of drought tolerant gardening has been discussed under the topics of Xeriscaping, here are the links to the forum posts, they include some excellent members list of drought tolerant plants and the basic design principles of xeriscaping, there are also some pictures that show what impressive and pleasant results can be achieved.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2546&p=22969&hilit= ... ing#p22969

viewtopic.php?f=52&t=2025&p=18725&hilit ... ing#p18725

Rather than create separate articles containing pertinent points scattered around it is better they be consolidated into a single post.

Regards
Ifzaal

Farhan Ahmed
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3799
Joined: February 5th, 2012, 9:38 pm
Country: Pakistan
City: Risalpur/Karachi
Gardening Interests: Annuals,Herbaceous Perennials, Landscaping,Cottage Garden
Location: Risalpur,KPK

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by Farhan Ahmed » November 5th, 2013, 10:17 pm

Yesterday while traveling on Attock bridge where Kabul and Indus meet. i Observed Indus was totally dry.

newton
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 522
Joined: April 13th, 2013, 11:16 pm
Country: uk
City: jhelum

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by newton » November 6th, 2013, 6:38 am

Farhan Ahmed wrote:Yesterday while traveling on Attock bridge where Kabul and Indus meet. i Observed Indus was totally dry.

Unfortunately it is issues like this having a negative impact on our wildlife. The Indus river dolphins being a classic example, Totally blind but have a highly developed sonar echolocation system. Unique to and highly adapted for survival in the river Indus and its tributaries. so much so that when removed they quickly die.

Since the introduction of the dams and barrages many of the populations have been cut off and isolated, when the rivers are dried the dolphins unable to get out end up dying. Pesticide and fertiliser run offs have been proven to be the reason why many of them are now failing to reproduce, it also kill off it native prey of fish and crustaceans. They neither reproduce nor live for very long in captivity.

The small changes we can make include

* Being careful and responsible with our use of pesticide and fertiliser chemicals.
* Ensuring raw sewage is not allowed to enter the river system
* Refrain from using chemical detergents when washing clothes and cooking utensils in the river
* Supporting and acknowledging some of excellent the work done by our own conservationists
http://un.org.pk/undp/sgp/green-pioneers/chap-15.htm
* Visit the sanctuaries or where possible facilitate exhibitions and awareness
http://www.pakistanwetlands.org/
* Educate our children about them while these beautiful and complex creatures still live amongst us.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBTMj3Vv ... re=related

According to WWF in 2001 there were only 1100 left in the wild, no doubt the numbers will have diminished since then. They are endangered and a unique species found only in Pakistan, the Ganges species number around 500- 600 estimated. The Yangtse river species was declared functionally extinct in 2006. That is it, there are no more in the world.

Regards
Ifzal

mikhurram
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1331
Joined: August 27th, 2012, 9:08 pm
Country: Pakistan
City: Lahore
Gardening Interests: Rose, Iris, Daylilies, Bulbs, Rhizomes, Perennial flowers & Fragrant plants.

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by mikhurram » November 6th, 2013, 9:42 am

Farhan Ahmed wrote:
Yesterday while traveling on Attock bridge where Kabul and Indus meet. i Observed Indus was totally dry.
Farhan's statement brought my attention to another matter which is being ignored by our government and the media that Afghanistan with assistance from Indiann Government is planning to built 12 hydropower projects on the Kabul River with a total water storage capacity of 4.7 Million Acre Feet (MAF), 25% more than that of Mangla Dam.

Alreadly the flow of waters in the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers has been resticted due to the Hydel Projects constructed by India.

Imagine what would be situation if these dams are built on river Kabul by Afghanistan.

A statement by a minister appeared today on the Dawn newspaper that "“Basha Dam is a matter of life and death for us now,” ". I hope that the construction of this vital project starts as early as possible.

Ifzal sahib has made some valid proposals regarding effects on biodiversity by building of dams but our country badly need Dams as early as possible as the pros heavily outweight the cons. Having a dam would ensure availability of water and supply of cheap electricity.
by Newton.
The Indus river Dolphins neither reproduce nor live for very long in captivity.
It's true that these Dolphins being sensitive to their environment cannot survive for long in other waters. This was discovered by the experts of China, Switzerland and Japan during the seventies when they took some dolphins for research purposes. These Dolphins get trapped between narrow irrigation canals. There was a proposal to install nets at the canal gates to prevent them from entering the barrages. A Dolphin reserve has been established by Sindh government and it should step up the monitoring.

newton
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 522
Joined: April 13th, 2013, 11:16 pm
Country: uk
City: jhelum

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by newton » November 6th, 2013, 1:45 pm

Electricity – total installed capacity: 21,103 MW (2012) Electricity – Sources (2012)

Fossil fuel – 13,637 MW – 65% of total
hydro – 6,654 MW – 31% of total
nuclear – 812 MW – 4% of total

Relying on cash hand-outs to build dams is not a sustainable answer as day by day the natural water flows in the rivers is decreasing. Some environmental impacts of dams such as submergence of usable/ecological land and their negative impact on Pakistan's mangrove forests due to loss of river silt load, as well as increased risk of severe floods have become evident. It would be interesting to learn of the source funding for the Basha dam project.

I'm certainly not advocating that dams and improvements to the water network shouldn't be made, as currently there is a clear demonstrable need. however we should be educated about the alternatives, wherever feasible take those options. Be aware of our environment and simultaneously take steps to support any conservation measures.

Increasing the nuclear capacity would go someway to solving the energy shortages with less reliance on fossil fuel generation as the price of imported oil soars daily and bills don't get paid.

My apologies for going off topic.

mikhurram
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1331
Joined: August 27th, 2012, 9:08 pm
Country: Pakistan
City: Lahore
Gardening Interests: Rose, Iris, Daylilies, Bulbs, Rhizomes, Perennial flowers & Fragrant plants.

Re: Pakistan's Water Crisis

Post by mikhurram » November 6th, 2013, 3:22 pm

Ifzal Sahib below are some facts from a summary prepared by me for an energy conference and i have tried to make them as brief as possible to ensure we do not go off topic.

Our energy mix in 1999 consisted of 70% reliance on Hydel and 30% on Furnace Oil and now it is the opposite and is the major reason for escalating cost of electricity. The total Cost of producing electricity by using furnace oil including distribution and losses was estimated to be Rs22 per KWH. This is somehow offset by the 1/3rd cheaper generation through hydel power which reduces the average cost based on the mix to Rs 16 per unit.

Pakistan is heavily reliant on furnace oil and thermal gas to generate 2/3 thirds of its energy requirements. As oil prices increase the costs of generation will increase further aggravating the circular debt. This is clearly an unfeasible preposition.

Pakistan needs to reduce/reverse its 2/3 dependency on electrical generation based oil and natural gas by increasing the share of Hydel and Coal based generation to reduce its power costs as well as decreasing its energy shortfall.

Cost per unit from coal powered plants based on imported coal is around Rs 10-11. The capital costs of Nuclear reactors is very high apart from environmental hazards witnessed in Fukishima reactor recently in Japan.

Thus the most feasible option is terms of generating electricity is through dams which would also store water taking into consideration the relevant side-effects outlined by you.

Our choices are limited and the best strategy for the government currently is do make dams on an emergengy basis and expedite the conversion of rental power projects from furnace oil to coal.
khabbab » November 4th, 2013, 5:09 pm
You have pointed towards an important topic. In our harsh summers, watering needs of plants increase to a great extent. Keeping in view the failure of our government in saving waters and other necessary measures, what else we can do to save the water needs?

Drought tolerant plants are a good idea. But i feel the crave for growing beautiful flowering plants etc. is hard to resist. I remember, Zahrah nasir discouraged the use of plants like pansy, primula and advocated in favor of mesembryanthemum, california poppy and gazania being drought tolerant. Perhaps a list of drought tolerant plants for lahore and other climates is very much of need.
I agree with you that it's hard to resist the craving for these plants. The major portion of water is consumed by our grass lawns and Zahrah Nasir even recommended doing away with grass lawns whose consumption is particularly in our hot summer months is very high. Even plants during these months at times requre watering twice on a daily basis. Personally i feel as compared to annuals the temptation to do away with grass lawns is much harder and perhaps we ought to consider creating a post on grass substitutes?

Post Reply

Return to “Environment Protection, Impact & Improvement”