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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Water Resources, Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said on Thursday that the country has not built new dams which should be addressed immediately as the major issue in the near future will be availability of water.

Addressing the National Water Policy Workshop, he said that dams are essential to conserve water, adding that nine years ago Pakistan had 900 gallons of water per capita which has massively declined.

The minister said that availability of water for the rapidly growing population is also an important issue and Pakistan needs enough water to increase agricultural production. However, the question is where does Pakistan stand on the water issue and what urgent steps are needed to solve this problem.

He said that without solving the water problem, Pakistan cannot develop in agriculture and without the development of agriculture; the country cannot be self-sufficient economically.

Khurshid Shah maintained that two provinces have established underwater groundwater authorities and the remaining two provinces should also establish underground water authorities as soon as possible so that early progress can be made in solving water problems.

He said, Pakistan used to export wheat during PPP’s previous regime and today the country is importing wheat.

He said that for the fair distribution of water, the government is installing telemetry system at different points to solve the issues of water distribution between provinces.

“We are trying to solve the water-related problems and the opinions and suggestions of the participants of the workshop, including experts from abroad, which will be evaluated and their suggestions will be utilised in the ongoing and future projects”, Shah added.

Khurshid Shah stated that he accepted Ministry of Water Resources of his own free will and he fully understands the need and importance of water in the country’s development and wants to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency and self-reliance as soon as possible through the development of agriculture.

In addition to water sector experts, Federal Secretary Water Resources Kazim Niaz also addressed the workshop.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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