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ISLAMABAD: Speakers declared depleting water resources and outdated infrastructure as main causes of loss of water and called for urgent, tangible and practical steps if the country wanted to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

They were addressing a seminar titled, “Hydro-Climatic Modelling on Trans-boundary Waters”, organised by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the University of Agriculture, Peshawar.

Khan Faraz, an environmental expert, said that Pakistan is the 10th country in the world badly affected by climate change. Fast-growing population, unplanned urbanization, and deteriorating droughts result in sudden heat waves, causing massive floods and threatening our existence. He further said Pakistan is among the 17th high risked countries where 80 per cent of its population would face severe water scarcity. The country has the lowest productivity ratio per cubic meter of water, Faraz added.

Various aspects of causes, impacts and way out of looming climate change and growing water scarcity at Indus River Basin, Kabul River Basin and its sub-basins were discussed during the seminar.

The speakers said if there is a rise of two degrees Celsius in the world’s temperature, there would be a four to five degrees increase in temperature in Pakistan that would lead to prolonged droughts and severe flash floods. In the worst-case scenario, it would threaten the Indus basin civilization.

Khan Faraz said there is a great need of an effective data-sharing system between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China over their trans-boundary rivers for better management of water. Pakistan should construct small hydropower projects upstream to mitigate the impacts of floods that are not only reducing water storage capacity but also damaging infrastructure.

The experts also called for better management of trans-boundary rivers to cope with growing water scarcity, frequent droughts and increasing heat waves due to climate change. They also stressed the remodelling of water distribution and irrigation infrastructure to save water resources in future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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