Images and footage of the dry wells of the Cholistan and the bone-dry bed of the might Indus River in Sindh areas have heralded the imminent drought hitting the areas of Pakistan, The media has reported that several cattle heads have died of thirst and sizzling weather in the Cholistan region after the water supplying ponds went dead dry because of no rain and the closure of canals. The water crisis is also severe in the cotton sowing areas and Sindh as the water shortage in the Indus River in the month of May is 60 percent, which has never been witnessed in the last five decades. The Indus River is the lifeline of Pakistan’s agricultural economy. The river provides drinking water to arid and desert zones of Cholistan, Rajanpur and Sindh, and a dry Indus means that other than agriculture and livestock, humans are also at risk of starvation due to the 60 percent of water shortage in barrages and canals of south Punjab and Sindh. The shortage of water, which stems from a dry season in the spring season, and the slow melting of snow and glaciers in the northern areas, is likely to hit the cotton and rice sowing, which will further affect the national economy and food reservoirs. Pakistan, despite being an agricultural country, has already been spending a considerable chunk of its foreign exchequers on the import of sugar and wheat.
A United Nations report has warned of drought in Pakistan by 2025, and the current situation can be taken as a trailer of the upcoming calamity.
The country has already been working on mega-dams, which are likely to start storing water in the coming 10 years. The reality, however, is that Pakistan has sufficient water supplies but they are wasted due to traditional irrigation techniques. Farmers need to be provided with modern irrigation techniques and facilities, which help them use water efficiently. Moreover, our farms have turned to water-guzzling crops and trees, such as sugarcane and rice, which have not created water shortages but also created climate-related issues. The solution to water shortage lies in smart working.