Pakistan’s water resources scenario

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It is not just cricket and the Nawaz Sharif corruption drama that should focus Pakistanis’ attention. Hamish Pritchard, writing in Nature (11 May 2017) warns,

The high mountains of  Asia – encompassing the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Pamir Alai, Kunlun Shan, and Tian Shan mountains – have the highest concentration of glaciers globally, and 800 million people depend in part on meltwater from them. Water stress makes this region vulnerable economically and socially to drought, but glaciers are a uniquely drought-resilient source of water . . .predicted glacier loss would add considerably to drought-related water stress. Such additional water stress increases the risk of social instability, conflict and sudden, uncontrolled population migrations triggered by water scarcity, which is already associated with the large and rapidly growing populations and hydro-economies of these basins . . . This is particularly the case in semi-arid Pakistan, which has the most water-intensive economy (water use per unit gross domestic product) of any country, a population that is growing annually by more than three million, a power demand that is increasing annually by 8% and a per-capita water supply that has fallen almost to the scarcity threshold (1,000 cubic metres per year), with demand expected to exceed supply by 44% by 2025.

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