This summer has proven to be Pakistan’s hottest and with a shortage of water in the country, concrete steps are being taken to ensure water needs are properly catered to in the country.
Such importance is being given on the construction of dams because as per media reports, Pakistan dumps over USD 21 billion worth of water in the sea. This value is calculated on the basis of its functionality for usage, and its utilisation in the economy for example, for agricultural and construction activities. A total of 138 million acre-feet (MAF) water flows through the country while only 13.7 MAF is stored. According to the brief prepared by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) to the apex court, the construction of two dams, Mohmand and Bhasha will increase the country’s capacity to store an additional 7 MAF of water.
However, the country’s capacity at present stands at 25 MAF, which means after the construction of these two dams, a new dam would be required every ten years.
The construction of dams is an important economic activity. With concerns to settlements, dams and reservoirs become part of the physical infrastructure of communities. People prefer to buy properties close to reservoirs and lakes. This can also be seen on how new projects in cities like Islamabad are located close to water bodies. Activity along these also subsequently emerge as parks are built, and money is spent in boats and equipment. A study has shown that historically, the location of a dam has determined how a community would be built around it. Information available at Zameen.com also reveals that more people prefer to be located in areas where there is free-flowing access to water. Thus, it can be concluded that water scarcity is a major issue determining real estate development and investment.
During 2016, unprecedented levels of real estate development and construction took place in the economy. The cement sector has also greatly expanded, recording a growth of 14% for the fiscal year 2017-2018. To sustain this, the provision of free-flowing water is essential and the need of the hour.
But there’s more than you can do as a community. Water conservation is an important step for any community to thrive. You can ask the developers of your housing society to build smaller dams that can store up water and regulate the flow. Creating lakes for storing excess rainwater is also a viable and an easy task. This water can then be used for irrigating parks and green spaces etc. This way, you can save on fresh water for domestic use while rain water is also efficiently utilised.
Water treatment plants are also a good option and one that is mandated by the Punjab Environment Protection Department – this is a more extensive form of water conservation and ensures water is reused rather than being drained as sewerage. Most housing societies penalise water wastage, which is a useful practice. Levying special water charges will ensure people use this precious resource carefully while the money collected can then be used for building dams and setting up treatment plants. These are good measures for water conservation at the community level.
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