‘Water cheapest source of power generation, lifeline of agri sector’ – Pakistan

LAHORE: President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashif Anwar has said that water has a direct link to the economic growth of Pakistan as it is not only the cheapest source of power generation but is also the lifeline of agriculture sector.

“We have to build our water management capacity on strong foundations to handle the issues at hand like devastation floods and environmental challenges.”

He was speaking at a seminar on “Water Economy of Pakistan” at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Former LCCI president and convener standing committee on Kalabagh Dam, Abdul Basit, Chairperson Political Science Department, GC University, Prof Dr Fauzia Ghani, Muhammad Suleman Khan, Chairman Sind Tas Water Council Pakistan, former LCCI president Sohail Lashari and Air Vice Marshal Anwar Mahmood Khan (retd) also spoke on the occasion.

President LCCI Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan is the most affected by the devastating effects of climate change while it is the minimal contributor in global warming and emissions. He said that by working on water reservoirs, Pakistan can benefit in many ways i.e. producing cheap electricity which benefits the country. Secondly, the country can be saved from the effects of flooding and most importantly can qualify for net green credit by United Nations.

He said the LCCI has always raised voice on the issue of water scarcity and all the stakeholders should be taken on board.

The speakers said that we have to understand that there is a direct link between economic growth, water, environment and energy. “We are in the top 10 countries facing severe water shortage,” he said adding that per capita water availability has decreased to less than 1000 cubic meters from 5650 cubic meter per capita in 1950s.

He said that the country has no dearth of resources but the lack of management. He mentioned that Pakistan has only 30 days water storage capacity against minimum requirement of 120 days. United States can store water for 900 days at Colorado River while Egypt for 1000 days at Niel River.

LCCI former president and chairman standing committee on Kalabagh Dam Abdul Basit said that there is an urgent need for planning to resolve water problems. If timely measures are not taken, a famine-like situation may arise in Pakistan after a few years.

He said that Kalabagh Dam should also be constructed to overcome issues like high energy prices, water shortage, and devastation caused by floods.

Abdul Basit believed that generating power through thermal sources would not be in favour of trade, industry and the economy. He said that Kalabagh Dam is the most suitable project for the national economy as it would not only produce cheap and sufficient electricity, but would also avert human tragedies.

The speakers said that there is no shortage of water resources in Pakistan, but due to lack of water management, around 35 million acre feet of water is wasted to the sea annually. If this water is put to use, the national economy can increase by billions of dollars annually.

They said in order to controlling flood water, there is also a need to implement rainwater conservation practices. Even barren lands can be used with this.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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