Approximately 60-70% of Pakistanis depend on groundwater, but a recent study highlighted areas of likely contamination based on water quality data covering almost 1,200 groundwater pumps tested between 2013 and 2015.
According to the study, around 88 million people are living in high-risk areas and roughly 50-60 million individuals could potentially be affected in an area in which an estimated to 200 million citizens currently do not have access to clean drinking water.
According to a recent report from the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRW), 85% of the population of Pakistan lacks access to drinking water and around 40% of all deaths in Pakistan as a result of disease are caused by water-borne diseases.
Add to this a burgeoning population increase, which, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17, sits at a growth-rate of 1.86% annually, and Pakistan is facing a disaster of epic proportions. Pakistan’s population has increased by 35 million annually and is expected to reach a 37% annual increase by 2030.
According to a 2009 UNDP Report, Pakistan is amongst the top 10 countries of the world, together with India, China, America, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico and Russia, with the highest water usage.
Pakistan’s water print is ranked second in South Asian countries, printed at 1331 meters per annum as opposed to the world’s water footprint which is 1385 cubic meters per year as per the National Institute of Water Education, Unesco Institute for Water Education 2011.
Life in Pakistan is dependent on monsoon rainwater, which means that millions of Pakistanis use hazardous water sources such as wells and ponds for drinking water.
There has been no government policy to resolve the water scarcity problem in many areas, such as in the region of Tharparkar, which has suffered severe drought in recent periods. With a rapidly growing population and an increased demand on current water resources for drinking water as well as for agriculture and industry, a disaster is looming.