Water Scarcity New World Reality

B. McPherson
Indus River water for a parched Pakistan
We live on a water rich planet. Most of the Earth is covered in oceans, some water is locked into ice, some hidden deep underground. Only about 2% of the world’s water is available and useable to humanity. As the climate changes, weather patterns also change. Some areas will receive more water than before and others, less.

Currently the monsoon rains are refilling reservoirs in SE Asia.  The rains are filling to the brim the second largest dam in India. Located in the Punjab area, the dam is currently holding back 1647.87 feet of water(ref: Times of India). Authorities are watching the situation carefully as this is the most water held to date. Currently authorities plan to empty the spillways if it reaches 1650 feet.

When the monsoons deliver their water to the Indian sub-continent, people scramble to make the most of the bounty. Reservoirs are filled, irrigation is assured and the earth springs up green from the parched soil. When they fail, people die.

India and Pakistan share the sub-continent in an uneasy peace. They also share rivers which rise in the Himalayas and empty into the Arabian Sea after traversing Pakistan. They are both party to a water sharing agreement signed in 1960 which apportions water to each country.

Since 1960 India and Pakistan have gone to war with each other, but the treaty was respected. Now allegations that dam building on the upper reaches of the Indus River will deny Pakistan the water needed to sustain its agriculture and food production.

Denying people access to water by disrupting natural water distribution and rivers is also terrorism. In the ecological context of water wars, terrorists are not just those hiding in the caves of Afghanistan but those who have been depriving them of their right. The Frontier Post

With its water supply teetering on the brink of scarcity, Pakistan is becoming increasingly vocal about India’s plans to build dams on the upper reaches of the rivers covered by the Indus Water Treaty. They have protested to the International Court of Arbitration in the Hague, but the court upheld India’s position and were forced to leave without satisfaction.

Pakistan is a densely populated country. Nearly 182.6 million people live on 796 095 km2 . India’s population is about 1.276 billion with over 50 000 new babies born today. They live on 3 287 263 km2 . Many thirsty and hungry mouths depend on the monsoons and snow melt.

The animosity building around water distribution is not new or unique to the Indian sub-continent. Water shortages around the world may be our new reality as weather patterns continue to change.

No water no life


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