Faisalabad: Pakistan has a 30-day water carryover capacity, compared to 170 days for India, 700 days for Egypt, and 900 days for America.

Muzammil Hussain, Chairman of the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), remarked this while speaking to students and faculty members at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad (UAF).

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He said that Pakistan’s yearly water availability had decreased from 5,650 cubic metres in 1951 to an alarming 908 cubic metres, rendering the country water-scarce. He stated that Pakistan could only store 10% of its yearly river flows, compared to a global average of 40%.

He regretted that, rather than enhancing its water storage capacity, Pakistan has lost nearly one-fourth of the storage capacity of its dams. In 1976, the live water storage capacity was 16.26 MAF, which equated to only a 30-day carryover capacity, compared to India’s 170 days, Egypt’s 700 days, and the United States’ 900 days. According to him, the capacity needed to be extended from 30 to at least 120 days.

“We need new water storage sources, as well as good water conservation and management systems, to combat the approaching water scarcity,” the chairman added.

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WAPDA is now working on a number of projects, including five dams, three hydropower projects, one canal, and one water delivery scheme, according to him. These projects are being developed as part of the ‘Decade of Dams’ plan, which will be completed in phases from 2023 to 2029.

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