World Water Day

Pakistan Engineering Congress holds seminar

Speakers at a seminar organised by Pakistan Engineering Congress (PEC) in connection with World Water Day on the theme of Nature of Water expressed the views that Pakistan needs to utilise its water resources after proper treatment with a view to enhancing food and fiber production to ensure food security.

WWF Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Hammad Naqi Khan chaired the first session of the seminar while the second session was chaired by Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Chairman Dr Shehzad Alam.

The speakers said Pakistan with a rising population could not meet its water demand from surface and groundwater. Developed economies use approximately 70 per cent of its waste water after treatment.

They said extreme shortage of water had already developed in Karachi and Islamabad where drinking water was being supplied to the residents by tankers. In Quetta, the groundwater level has reached to beyond workable level. The quality of water in Lahore and Peshawar was getting polluted. Gwadar was an expending city where demand for water was growing fast than the resources, they added.

The speakers said it had been projected that urban water requirement for 25 major cities of Pakistan would be 6.34 and 8.67 BCM by the year 2030 and 2050 respectively while the current supply of these cities was about 4.0 BCM. Therefore increasing the water resources, especially dams, to meet the demand and supply ratio was need of the hour.

Engineer Abdul Khaliq Khan presented his paper on Water Needs of Capital Cities in Pakistan. He suggested the water regulatory authorities in big cities particularly for Lahore and Quetta need to enhance the monitoring of groundwater abstraction and lay restrictions on the abstraction of groundwater in critical areas. “Groundwater plays an important role in economic development, the government needs to develop a long-term sustainable strategy of this resource,” he added.

Providing education and training to local communities about rainwater and run-off water harvesting for domestic and agricultural use and for groundwater recharge would enhance the adaptation options to cope with the current and anticipated future problems.

The speakers stressed on supplementing groundwater supplies with surface water. Detailed designs and implementation of surface water supply schemes for Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Gwadar need to be expedited