The Juxtaposition of Water Scarcity and Flooding in Pakistan
The suffering of Pakistani people seems to never end. Heavy rains have inundated villages, and cities, destroying everything that comes its way. People have lost their lives, properties and peace of mind. On the other hand, Pakistan is also one of the most water scarce countries in the world, and the conditions are aggravating due to climate change.
In many parts of the country people have opted for water boring and installing motors at their homes, which has strikingly reduced underground water levels. In other parts, people have no option but to buy water from water tankers, which charge a hefty amount for water. The latter has become a nuisance for Karachiites. The water mafia has created artificial shortage of water, resulting in higher prices of water: a basic necessity for human life. The illegal hydrants and tankers operate openly across the city, with no fear of accountability.
Due to heavy rainfall, the water levels in Hub dam have reached its peak level, but are benefiting hardly a few people. Pakistan receives about 145million acre feet of water every year, out of which 132 million acres feet of water is wasted, due to lack of dams. Another news report stated that Pakistanis waste 10 trillion gallons of water annually through excessive use in lavatories, and kitchens. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has placed Pakistan at “third” position in the list of countries facing acute water scarcity.
It is a sad reality that Pakistanis have little to no ethics and moral values when it comes to their social duties. Most of us focus on our rights, and neglect the duties we have to perform in return. It is up to us to train ourselves, and our children. Water is not free, not even in developed countries. Government provides water at a high cost in the US, UK and other places. My water bill for a one month stay in the US was USD 55. While in Pakistan, my water bill is a meagre PKR 300.
It is high time we realise that water is not something we should take for granted, like we did in the case of Sui gas. We pride ourselves on being Muslim and water is one of the most profound elements in Islam. The Prophet SAWW instructed his followers and said, “Do not waste water, even if you were at a running stream” Sunan Ibn Majah 425). Therefore, as Muslims and as Pakistanis, it is crucial for us to take the measures required before the country runs dry. The government needs to erect more dams to conserve flood water, and protect the people from the hazards of heavy monsoon showers.
by Amna Sheikh