“Water Crisis Management and National Security” - 29 January, 2019

“Water Crisis Management and National Security” - 29 January, 2019

The growing population and demographic shift has brought remarkable changes to the Pakistan’s economy. The development and the subsequent preservation of resources have become directly linked with the proportional socio-economic progress of the country. After the long period of chaos, terrorism and political cult violence, the relative peace demands for better and sustainable management across the all national institutions. The general sentiment around, however, projects that various sectors which are crucial to national security needs overhauling and policy guided decision making.

This is evident in the lack of basic civic amenities, primarily clean and hygienic water for drinking and domestic use in addition to a general water shortage that has prevailed in recent years due to poor water management and global climate change.

Given the poor state of water management, Pakistan is ranked third in the list of countries going through issues of water scarcity, which will have implications for the national security. Pakistan’s water crisis issue is currently at a critical stage and needs immediate attention. The finding of joint research initiative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), the country is expected to “run dry” by 2025. As Pakistan’s economy is largely agricultural and it has the world’s highest water intensive rates, the problem of water crisis is expected to bring a national security threat to the country.

WASH report of WaterAid – an international nonprofit organization, has outlined rather alarming prospects for Pakistan’s future, identifying it among the world’s 36 most water stressed countries. This water shortage is visible in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi where the issue of water shortages has plagued the city for decades. Furthermore, the inhabitants of areas on the outskirts of the city have to rely on drilled wells and methods of boring holes to extract water from the ground. The water obtained through these methods, however, is ultimately not suitable for human consumption or use. Karachi’s ‘water problem’ is fast transforming into ‘Water Crisis’ and should be considered as a serious threat that impacts socio-economic conditions of inhabitants and overall health national economy.

Pakistan’s socio-economic progress is inextricably linked to a reliable energy mix. The steep rise in oil and gas prices due to uncertainty in the Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC) will also come under discussion and how it has suppressed the chances of an economic resurgence in Pakistan. The report which is currently being authored by a team of experts has specified issues linked to the power crisis. Such issues which are causing a rise in the cost of electricity are power evacuation bottlenecks, governance and managerial issues, electricity theft, and non-recovery of bills from consumers. The report is also going to discuss in detail Pakistan’s potential in renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, bio - energy, and hydel power. CPSD’s report will also conduct a comparative analysis of the renewable energy policies of the developing world and Pakistan.

The increasing urbanization, shortage of resources, poor water management and governance mechanism will further deteriorate the situation will be translated into national security risks. In this backdrop, the roundtable on “Water Crisis Management and National Security” aims to investigate the discrepancies in existing water management mechanism, education and human resource development. Moreover, the proceeding will analyze the mitigation and intervention strategies for water management and economic security.