Tuesday, March 22, 2011

22nd March - World Water Day

Humans and animals or any form of life cannot exist without water. Many civilizations have vanished in the past when rivers changed courses or continuous droughts made green pastures into vast tracts of barren lands.  Countries have gone to war on stoppage of water, if the water heads happen to be in the neigbouring countries. To understand the importance of the water, under the auspices of the UN, the World Water Day is celebrated every year on March the 22nd all over the world.

The theme for the World Water Day 2011 is “water for the cities.” The ever increasing population and migration of people from rural areas to the urban cities has put lot of pressure on the resources of the urban area, specially the availability of the clean drinking water. The theme this year is about these concerns as countries are finding it difficult to provide adequate water for the citizens.

The official event of the day is being held in the Cape Town, South Africa from 20-22 March 2011. The African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) joined hands with UN-HABITAT and UN-Water in co-organizing the official World Water Day 2011 event. Ceremonies are being hosted by the Government of South Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. 

A vast majority of people, specially children do not have access to clean drinking water around the world, more so in drought stricken areas of Africa. Even in Pakistan, availability of safe water for drinking is a big challenge for the government and civic organizations.

Pakistan is also facing a discriminatory policy of sharing water from its neighbour India, that controls water-heads of all major rivers flow into Pakistan. Despite signing a mutual Indus Water Treaty in 1960, there have been grave violations of the treaty by India, which is constructing dams upstream on rivers whose water was guaranteed to Pakistan as per the mutual treaty. as per one report, India is likely to shut the sluice gates on three major rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, the water of which was guaranteed to Pakistan, thus completely cutting off the lifeline of Pakistan. 

We in Pakistan have also failed to construct more storage dams to stop water flowing into the Arabia Sea without being used. During the last year's flash floods, millions of acre feet of water was dumped into the Arabia Sea as there was no dam downstream Tarbela to harness the flood water from Kabul River and other tributaries. There doesn't seem to be any long term strategy, as India has evolved, t cater for our water requirements. Instead, we are fighting over issues that would rob us of the water that is flowing down unused every year.

Let us conserve water in every form and save for our future generations. Remember water is life- let us not kill life for our pleasures as tomorrow we may not have enough water for us and our future generations.