Saturday, December 28, 2013

Threat of water wars is real, says Pakistani climate change scientist

Shahid Husain in the News (Pakistan): In an interview with The News on Friday, Dr Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry, senior adviser on Climate Change Programme and deputy regional director, Asia, LEAD Pakistan, identified threats to the country due to climate change and global warming.

He agreed that “water wars” were real, and said food security was directly linked to climate change. Dr Chaudhry is in town as a resource person at a three-day Saarc workshop on “Climate Change Impacts on Coastal and Aquatic Resources”. The workshop has been organised by the Saarc Coastal Zone Management Centre, Male, Maldives, in collaboration with the Climate Change Division, Pakistan.

Excerpts follow: Q: In a statement to the press, Ismail Seageldin, vice president of the World Bank, said in August 1995: ‘Many of the wars of this century were about oil, but wars of next century will be over water.” Do you agree? A: I fully agree that future wars will be on water because of water stress created by climate change stresses. This war and confrontation will not only be between countries but also between provinces, different users because there will be competing demands between different stake holders/partners.

Q: How can these wars be avoided? A: First of all, we need to assess the climate change threats and then particular impacts on water resources. We need to prepare our water development systems and need to plan rational use of available water resources. Pakistan being an agricultural country, the major user of available freshwater is agricultural sector, using 80 percent of water. Present irrigation practices results in wastage of more than 30 percent of this share of water. The foremost action should be to reduce these wastages in agriculture...

A well pump in Pakistan, shot by Mo, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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