The Federal Minister of Water Resources, Syed Khursheed Shah, said that the agricultural sector has witnessed a 20 percent decline in production during the current year due to a shortage of water.
Addressing a gathering in Islamabad on Thursday, the minister informed that a water shortage of up to 60 percent was hurting the agriculture sector.
Previously, Pakistan had a per capita water availability of over nine thousand gallons. However, the water reserves have severely dropped, with no work being done on water reservoirs. To make things worse, no work has been done to maintain underground water reservoirs, he added.
Concerned about the growing population, he said that Pakistan’s population was growing exponentially and would reach 300 million soon, which would create further water shortages. To avoid a water crisis in the future, the country must construct rainwater reservoirs in Sindh and Balochistan. This would also protect underground water reservoirs, he added.
“Agricultural lands are being converted into residential colonies due to population growth. However, by paying attention to agriculture, the country can be made self-sufficient and can reduce its imports,” he said.
Shah said that the government has to actively protect the environment by arresting the mafia involved in deforestation.
He said that the government would consider the recommendations given by experts regarding water utilization to avert any crisis.