Fri, 08 Jul 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 17 (ANI): Highlighting that the Himalayan glaciers have lost more mass since 2000 than in the entire twentieth century, a report by a Washington-based institute said that water scarcity in Pakistan is projected to worsen with climate change.

Of the world's five basins where water scarcity-led GDP losses are projected to be highest, three (Indus, Sabarmati, and Ganges-Brahmaputra) are in South Asia, Dawn reported citing Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

In the Indus Basin alone, GDP losses by 2100 are expected to exceed USD 5,000 billion, the report said.

An unprecedented suite of climatic changes has caused crop yield decline and production losses in the region, with a few exceptions for certain crops and sub-regions.

Decline in rice and wheat yields have been observed in Pakistan with climate change though the use of heat-tolerant varieties has provided some resilience and forestalled greater impacts, the report said.

Climate change presents immediate and long-term challenges for South Asia such as glacier melt, sea-level rise, groundwater depletion, extreme weather events, and frequency of natural hazards that are likely to worsen in coming decades, the report further said.

The IFPRI report warned that South Asia's pre-existing vulnerabilities -- high levels of poverty, governance challenges, and limited access to basic services and resources -- amplify the region's climate risks, with potentially devastating effects if warming continues at this pace.

Acute water shortage along with a searing heatwave has already sparked tensions between Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan over their share of the nation's water resources.

Recently, at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources, which met informally due to lack of quorum, an unpleasant scene was witnessed as both sides hurled accusations against each other on the current arrangement of water releases and water distribution mechanism, the report said.

Due to April 2022 being ranked as the second driest month since 1961, the inflow of water has been recorded as low. According to Indus River System Authority (IRSA), actual inflows during this period were recorded at 5.350 million acre-feet (MAF) as compared to the projected 8.590 MAF, showing a shortage of 38 per cent. (ANI)

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