Muslim Countries at brink of water shortage-
CSS Current Affairs
Islamic countries are expected to suffer from severe water scarcity by 2025. The matter of water shortage was discussed in an inaugural session of the “4th International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management” on February 26, 2018. (CSS Current Affairs)
The conference was organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in collaboration with Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz International Prize Of Water (PSIPW), and the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology (ISNET).
Imran Iqbal from SUPARCO has shared findings of an international study that states, “By 2050 the per capita availability of water will reduce by half”. He added, “Some areas suffer an acute shortage of water, causing aridity and drought resulting in famine and hunger,” while reading out a statement on behalf of the Executive Director ISNET.
Later, the governments of these countries were advised to adopt and implement satellite technology to achieve water security. He said that above 1.4 billion people living in developing countries have no clean water to drink while more than 450 million people are facing water scarcity.
“Climate change will worsen the situation by increasing water stress.
– Ahsan Iqbal
Federal Minister for Interior, and Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal informed the participants that the conference is aimed to promote the use of space technology applications in water management. Most Islamic countries are developing countries and their economies rely on agriculture so water ends up being a lifeline for their economy. There is a dire need to manage water shortage.
The minister claimed, “Climate change will worsen the situation by increasing water stress. Over the next 20 to 25 years, cities in developing countries will double and so will their demand for integrated approaches to managing water supply, water quality, sanitation, and drainage and flood management.”
Over 100 eminent scientists and scholars from various countries including Australia, China, USA and Canada participated in the five-day conference.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, after the Indus Basin Treaty with India, the water of only two rivers i.e. Jhelum and Chenab are available to Pakistan while unfortunately, the availability of water from the other three (Ravi, Sutlej, and Bias) depends on the will of India. According to the UNO Report, Pakistan is at the 7th position in the list of countries, which are facing a water crisis.
Pakistan should prepare water policies and construct water reservoirs. Loss of water through seepage, leaching, and percolation by the lining of Canals should be reduced. There should be a control over irrigation practices. Water should be used efficiently and rainwater should be saved. Severe water secrecy would have adverse effects on human health and the economy too.
By investing in the water sector, sustainable social and economic development of Pakistan can be represented at its best.