Water reforms just as important as Dams: WB

The World bank has issued a report on Pakistan titled “Getting More from Water”. This report suggests that poor water management annually costs the country around 4% of the GDP which is approximately $12 billion per year. Water wastage is an issue and agricultural yields are low compared to most countries.

Dr William Young, author of the report, said that irrigation dominates water use in the country but the four major crops (rice, wheat, sugarcane and cotton) that use 80 percent of water contribute only 5 percent of GDP. This $12 billion also includes the cost incurred by droughts and floods. in addition to these another problem is poor sanitation and lack of wastewater treatment systems. This results in water-borne diseases that kill 40,000 children each year

The study clearly suggests that although construction of dams is important for water security but only relying on dams will not solve the problems of water faced by the country unless strict and effective reforms are introduced. These reforms include modernization of irrigation methods like introduction of drip irrigation and sprinkler systems. Hydromet systems should be expanded; and urban water infrastructure, especially for wastewater has to be developed on priority basis.

The report declares that Agricultural subsidies should be reformed to reflect real value of commodity exports and of water. Without reform, irrigation water use will limit water access by industry and services sectors, constraining economic growth