Pakistan is currently facing an acute water shortage. The South Asian country is predicted to be a water-scarce country by 2035, due to the enormous pressures of providing clean water for a rapidly growing population.
Experts are suggesting that Pakistan will run out of water by 2040 if long-term measures aren’t taken to deal with the problem.
So, is Pakistan in a water crisis? We will discuss this question in this article, which we hope you learn something from.
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To learn more about the water crisis in Pakistan, click here to read our articles on:
- Water in Pakistan
- Pakistan Water Well
- Is Pakistan Running Out of Water?
- How Much of Pakistan Is Under Water?
- Which Parts of Pakistan Are Flooded?
- Why is Pakistan Flooding So Badly?
Is Pakistan in a water crisis?
Pakistan is doing everything in its power to improve access to clean water for its citizens. However, it is still a struggle for millions of people across the country.
So, is Pakistan in a water crisis?
Yes, unfortunately, the scarcity of clean water is hazardous for people’s health, well-being, and quality of life.
So, what water problems does Pakistan have? Read on below to find out more:
- Lack of access to clean drinking water
Thousands of people across Pakistan face great difficulties in accessing clean water.
According to UNICEF, an estimated 70% of households in Pakistan drink bacterially contaminated water. Drinking unsafe water can be very dangerous- it increases the risk of transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Too many people in Pakistan die from these diseases, as they do not have access to proper medication and medical treatment.
The risk is particularly high for children. When children drink contaminated water, this makes them susceptible to chronic malnutrition, stunted growth, gastrointestinal illnesses, harm to their tissues and organs, and even death. That is why clean water is a life-saving staple, as it results in better health and improved quality of life.
If water sources are available, people often have to carry heavy pots of water for long distances every day. In Tharparkar, most women and girls have to travel more than 3km and spend three to five hours fetching water. Collecting water is particularly dangerous for children, women, and girls, as it is a physically demanding task that leads to health problems like chronic pain, dehydration, and spine issues.
Fetching water task is also incredibly time-consuming: it takes hours to collect the water and thus leaves little time for duties like attending school, earning money, and looking after crops and livestock. Hence, it traps families into a cycle of poverty, as they have to spend all their time collecting water, just to survive.
- Poor sanitation
Sanitation is a huge barrier to good health, especially for people living in poverty.
Around 79 million people in Pakistan do not have access to a proper toilet. The South Asian nation is the third-largest country where people practice open defecation. This can cause the spread of illnesses like bacterial infections, especially among menstruating girls and women.
Poor sanitation is a huge health hazard for the population. Not only does it lead to diseases and deaths, but it also contaminates food supplies, causes low school attendance, and increases the risk of assault of girls and women who relieve themselves outside.
Dirty sources of water also contaminate agriculture and aquatic life, demonstrating how dangerous water pollution is for the natural environment.
- Pakistan Floods 2022
Natural disasters have also exacerbated the water crisis in Pakistan.
Sadly, Pakistan is naturally prone to extreme weather conditions, floods, earthquakes, heat waves, and drought, which affect millions of its inhabitants each year.
In 2022, Pakistan experienced one of the deadliest floods in living memory, which caused widespread destruction across the nation. The ravaging flood waters destroyed buildings, roads, bridges, villages, farmland, and crops. Tragically, the disaster has claimed the lives of over 1,730 people, including over 600 children.
The flood was caused by extreme rainfall, which fell during the monsoon season, but climate change ultimately worsened matters. Global warming has caused the average annual temperature in Pakistan to increase by about 0.5°C since 1970. The rising temperature means that there is more moisture in the air, which triggers more excessive rainfall and the melting of Himalayan glaciers (both of which worsen flooding in Pakistan).
- Unpreparedness for the Water Crisis
It is a huge, overwhelming challenge for any country to cope with extreme weather conditions and provide enough clean water for drinking, as well as for vital services such as food production, sanitation, industrial projects, waste management, and the environment.
However, Pakistan has a lack of funding and resources to solve the water crisis by itself. The country is one of the largest countries in Asia, with a population exceeding 231.8 million.
In fact, experts suggest that 7-million-acre feet of water is lost to the sea every year, due to government incompetence, and lack of strategy and infrastructure.
Also, many areas of Pakistan are ill-equipped for supplying clean water and sanitation to people. In low-income areas, maximum safety is usually accompanied by higher costs, which is undesirable or unfeasible in many vulnerable communities.
Survivors of the 2022 floods in Pakistan have also called for improved communication from environmental protection agencies so that people can be warned and supported in times of natural disasters.
How have the 2022 floods worsened the water crisis in Pakistan?
Sadly, the 2022 floods have had horrendous consequences for public health. The flooding has:
- submerged one-third of the country underwater.
- damaged water sources and water supply lines, forcing people to drink polluted water which carries silt, raw sewage, and bacteria.
- destroyed sanitation and hygiene facilities.
- caused a surge in the number of people falling ill with waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and typhoid.
- caused an increase in the number of flood-related ailments, such as skin infections, malaria, dengue fever, and bites from poisonous snakes.
- affected nearly 15% of Pakistan’s rice crop and 40% of its cotton crop.
How is Zohra Foundation helping flood-affected people in Pakistan?
We at Zohra Foundation are encouraging supporters to donate to our Pakistan Flood Appeal, to help fund life-saving aid for people affected by this catastrophe.
Our team is currently on the ground in Pakistan, distributing aid such as cooked meals, clean water, kitchen utensils, medicines, tents, and hygiene kits, to help people recover from this devastating natural disaster.
We have also started rebuilding homes, to offer shelter, safety, and comfort to people who have been displaced during this tragedy.
The vulnerable people in Pakistan desperately need financial assistance, to repair their lives, following the devastating floods of 2022.
The floods have left thousands of people in a state of misery, despair and hopelessness. With no shelter, food, clean water, adequate sanitation, or medical care, these people have little chance of surviving this crisis.
Click here to donate to Zohra Foundation’s Pakistan Flood appeal today.
We are grateful for every donation we receive. Your donations are funding the essential supplies that so many vulnerable people urgently need at this moment after a natural disaster wrecked their lives.
How can Pakistan solve its water problems?
There are many methods that Pakistan can take to help improve access to clean water, including:
- Improve water management, water conservation, and irrigation systems.
- Minimise water wastage where possible, for example, by using sprinklers and drip irrigation at farms.
- Install seawater desalination plants, which convert saltwater into drinkable water.
- Place a strong emphasis on flood detection and disaster planning across Pakistan, especially in the most flood-prone areas, such as Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan.
- Use more rainwater harvesting solutions, such as groundwater recharge wells.
- Improve hazard assessments of natural landscapes and urban areas.
- Ensure emergency aid and healthcare is readily available for people affected by floods.
- Construct more water reserves, canals, and dams to store excess water and prevent future flooding disasters.
- Restore forests (reforestation) to help intercept rainfall, delay rainfall runoff and minimise soil erosion.
- Take more action on global warming and climate change, to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Donate to Zohra Foundation
Zohra Foundation is a London-based, UK-registered charity organization that aims to improve the lives of millions of orphans, widows, and the elderly throughout Pakistan and respond to emergencies in other parts of the world.
Our team is currently delivering emergency relief across Pakistan, following the devastating 2022 floods.
All projects at Zohra Foundation are Zakat eligible. You can choose to make a one-off donation or donate on a monthly basis.
Donate to Zohra Foundation’s Pakistan Flood appeal here.
Support our Pakistan relief projects on Medical Aid, Dementia Camps, and Eye Camps here.
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We hope we have provided the answer to the question ‘is Pakistan in a water crisis?’
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