By Nadir Ali
In the midst of the ongoing environmental crisis, water scarcity has taken center stage. While heat-waves frequently end in torrential downpours and flash floods, rising temperatures have made water scarcity even worse, posing a serious threat to human lives. A compelling example of this phenomenon is the increasing frequency of extremely hot weather, which has been observed in places like Asia, Europe, and some parts of the United States.
The other aspect of the water crisis, on the other hand, manifests as unprecedented-sized cyclones and floods, which tragically result in the deaths of thousands of people, extensive infrastructure damage, and a worsening of the economic woes of underdeveloped countries. In addition, priceless groundwater resources are becoming salinized as coastal communities are submerged by sea level rise brought on by global warming.
In the next ten years, the water crisis will likely be one of the biggest threats the world will have to deal with. Alarming data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 4.2 billion people live in areas without adequate sanitation facilities, and that two billion people lack access to safe drinking water. The demand for potable water and sanitation is outpacing supply in the majority of developing countries at an alarming rate, which heightens the severity of the crisis.
Moreover, global warming poses risks to all life on Earth, including the vast oceans that house over 95% of the planet’s freshwater. The rising temperatures within these massive bodies of water have led to an increase in atmospheric moisture content, which has led to heavy rainfall and intensified hurricanes and typhoons.
Contrarily, millions of people’s lives are currently in danger as Pakistan battles a severe water crisis. The combination of climatic vicissitudes, a growing population, and the appalling mismanagement of water resources is putting tremendous strain on the country’s water reservoirs. This upsetting combination has resulted in an alarming water shortage, which raises concerns about the possibility of things getting worse in the future. Pakistan is on the verge of an impending water catastrophe as a result of the crippling decline in per capita water availability, which has fallen by more than 80% over the past seven decades. It is crucial to understand that this issue extends its perilous influence into the social and economic spheres in addition to the ecological sphere.
However, the lack of access to potable water has been detrimental to the population’s health, education, and sustenance. Women and children living in rural hinterlands who must make difficult journeys in search of water are those who feel the effects of this adversity the most keenly. This demanding task takes up a lot of time, which significantly impedes their efforts to further their education and find employment. To address the escalating water crisis plaguing Pakistan, an urgent response is required.
The ineffectiveness of water management systems is inextricably linked to Pakistan’s water problems. Uneven access and distribution, a growing population, rapid urbanization, progressive industrialization, a lack of available storage space, and the looming threat of climate risks all combine to make water management a very difficult task. As a result of shifting weather patterns caused by climate change, it is now necessary to develop regionally specific solutions rather than using a general, one-size-fits-all approach to policy.
The growing water demand in Pakistan makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which necessitates immediate attention and site-specific, creative solutions. To secure the country’s water resources for a sustainable and resilient future, it is essential to overcome the water management intricacies with their variety of challenges and complexities.
Last but not least, the prudent management of water resources must be given top priority by the government, and significant funding must also be allocated for the nation’s water infrastructure to be strengthened. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to increase water storage capabilities, improve irrigation systems, and promote strict water conservation measures. In addition, strong measures should be taken to reduce water pollution, which is a significant factor in the occurrence of waterborne illnesses. Due to the complexity of Pakistan’s water crisis, an all-encompassing strategy is required, which calls for concerted cooperation between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. These organizations have a responsibility to work together to ensure that water resources are adequate to meet the needs of the country’s population.