Water Prosperity to Water Poverty

Since 1947, after the independence, Pakistan water economy was robust concerning per capita clean water availability (5000 cubic meter); unfortunately, this water prosperity could not be maintained. Within a couple of decades, just after the independence, there were strong indications of weaknesses in managing national water resources. Consequently, the per capita water availability is reduced to less than 1000 cubic meters per person in 2018, taking from water scarcity to absolute water scarcity. It is challenging and painful to overview Pakistan’s brittle water economic situation; it is full of many ignorances (s) / negligence (s) and gaps in managing the world’s most arid country. Pakistan has the world’s fourth-highest rate of water use. Its water intensity rate – the amount of water, in cubic meters, used per unit of GDP – is the world’s highest. It suggests that no country’s economy is more water-intensive than Pakistan’s. The population and the economy are heavily dependent on an annual influx of water into the Indus River system that emanates from the neighbouring countries and is derived chiefly from rainfall and snowmelt in the Himalayas. People have adapted to the low and poorly distributed rainfall by either living along river banks or carefully husbanding and managing local water resources throughout history. In the nineteenth century, the advent of large scale irrigation technology decisively shifted the balance between man and water. In the twentieth century, Pakistan faced several political and natural challenges to its water economy.

Turning Points in the

Water Story of Pakistan

Water Abundance to Water Stress
1947-1981

Water Stress to Water Scarcity
1981-2003

Water Scarcity to Absolute Scarcity
2003-2020

Population
34 to 84.25 Millions

Population
84.25 to 148.21 Millions

Population
148.21 to 207.7 Millions

Freshwater availability
5100 to 1700 CM Per Capita

Freshwater availability
1700 to 1100 CM Per Capita

Freshwater availability
1100 to 865 CM Per Capita

Pakistan Water Story

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