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When scarcity strikes


Water is a basic necessity of life. Since access to water has been recognised as a human right, the obligation to provide clean and safe drinking water across the globe has fallen on various government agencies.

However, over one billion people across the globe do not have access to basic water supplies. Nearly half of the developing world’s population suffers from an assortment of diseases because water supply remains contaminated.

The growing population across the world has lowered the level of ground water – particularly in the densely populated parts of the world like South Asia, Africa and China. Several policy efforts have been made at the global level to address the plight of the vulnerable sections of society. But these efforts have yet to yield the expected results. Since the mid-1990s, the privatisation of water services has been billed as the solution to providing water to people who do not have access to potable water in developing countries.

Consequently, public resistance has been witnessed towards the initiatives taken for the privatisation of water. One such example is the movement against water privatisation in Bolivia. The privatisation of water services has failed to bring water to the people in the impoverished city of El Alto, Bolivia where people have been charged for a basic water connection. After a failed attempt at privatisation in Bolivia in the late 1990s, the Cochabamba Declaration was introduced in 2000, in which the emancipation of water was declared an inviolable right.

While Pakistan is not a water-scarce country, poor management, the improper water infrastructure and an inequitable access to water have created problems for an ever-increasing population. According to a World Bank Report, Pakistan currently ranks among the top 17 water-scarce countries and this shortage is rapidly proliferating. Around 38.5 million people do not have access to clean and safe water and potable water is becoming a rare commodity across the country. This implies that the lack of water availability is not the only concern for the country. Instead, inefficient water management is at the core of Pakistan’s water crisis while the government is oblivious to this issue.

Under limited funding constraints, the government has failed to provide its citizen with better water and sewerage facilities. This has left people with no option but to buy water at exorbitant prices. Multinational companies have come up with bottled water that is targeted at a large section of the population – particularly the middle and upper class. These privately-owned companies are actively involved in extracting water from local underground springs and thereby draining water supplies. Most of these companies have been extracting water from a local aquifer either free of charge or at lower rates and are selling bottled water to consumers at relatively higher prices.

On the other hand, less affluent communities who can’t afford bottled water are consuming water directly from the ground through hand pumps and motor pumps. According to a report by the Pakistan Planning Commission, 61 percent of the households extract groundwater for domestic purposes with electric pumps and hand pumps. This exceeds up to 70 percent in rural areas.

The presence of salinity and the high concentration of arsenic in groundwater and rapid groundwater depletion have raised the levels of microbial contamination, which is causing various chronic diseases in consumers such as malaria, hepatitis and other skin diseases. While water is considered to be essential, the continuous consumption of contaminated water is likely to have an adverse effect.

Since there is no legal mechanism to regulate groundwater, people can extract as much water as they need owing to land ownership and sufficient financial resources. The unplanned pumping of groundwater has posed serious management and equity challenges. The government should play an active role in ensuring citizens get access equitable, clean and safe water. There is a need to build local community and institutional capacity based on indigenous and local research. Productive and rigorous arrangements should be made by the government to educate people about the harmful effects of the intake of contaminated water. Similarly, water purification plants should be installed to ensure regular water quality testing. Furthermore, the government should introduce a moratorium for a definite time period to stop private firms from extracting ground water at an unsustainable rate. A proper monitoring system is required to monitor the reduction of ground water through a metering system.

Undoubtedly, water is a blessing to all. Access to clean and safe drinking water is not only a necessity but is also a fundamental human right. However, the scarcity of clean water poses a massive threat to Pakistan’s survival and must be resolved with immediate effect.

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21 Comments on "When scarcity strikes"

  1. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:31 am 

    Cows Dying In Droves In Record-Breaking Central Valley Heatwave

  2. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:32 am 

    Alberta to endure ‘exceptional’ heat wave for at least a week

  3. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:33 am 

    Cyprus’ record heat wave claims lives of 2 people

  4. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:34 am 

    Wide areas of southern China hit by flooding while heat wave strikes the north

  5. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:34 am 

    More than 100 sent to hospital as season’s first heat wave breaks record for electricity

  6. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 11:35 am 

    Simultaneous Widespread Global Heat Waves Are the New Norm

    Late-spring warmth encircled the Northern Hemisphere, with records on every continent. Jul 3, 2017

  7. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 12:06 pm 

    If ya can’t feed them,
    Then don’t breed them.

  8. MASTERMIND on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 2:53 pm 

    Good the cows are dying! Now they won’t fart all day long and create global warming!

  9. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 3:03 pm 

    Sixth great extinction under way

    “It is produced by pollution, change of land use, invasive species, loss of habitat, change of climate.”

    On the causes of mass extinctions

    “Here we review almost twenty biotic crises between the early Cambrian and end Cretaceous and explore potential causal mechanisms. Most extinctions are associated with global warming and proximal killers such as marine anoxia ”

    “The past decade in particular has seen research efforts directed toward understanding the context and nature of environmental changes associated with extinction events. This has resulted in significant new data and observations from the fields of geochronology, geochemistry, mineralogy, palaeontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, palaeomagnetism, volcanology and geophysics, several of which are the focus case studies in this Special Issue.”

  10. Apneaman on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 3:12 pm 

    Study sheds new light on extinction risk in mammals

    “For the first time in Earth’s history, one species—Homo sapiens, or humans—dominates the globe,” said Crooks. “In contrast to prior eras, we travel and communicate across the entire planet. Unfortunately, the more ‘connected’ we become, non-human life with which we share this planet becomes increasingly disconnected, at their peril.”

    “Urban development, deforestation leads to fragmentation”

    Read more at:

    ‘Habitat fragmentation’ is a sterilized, clinical scientific term for the human Cancer.

  11. bobinget on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 3:47 pm 

    Go North Young Woman.(men will follow)

  12. Hubert on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 4:13 pm

  13. MASTERMIND on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 5:05 pm 

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end….were
    talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in
    short order…The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once.I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close.

    (Meadows 1972) (Ehrlich 2013)
    (Motesharrei 2012) (Jefferson 2015) (Chapman,I 2013) (Ritchie 2017)
    (Korowicz 2012) (Tainter 1990)

  14. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 6:00 pm 

    The cows are dying!
    Run to the hamburger stand
    and buy a triple half pounder
    with cheese, while ya still can!

  15. Sissyfuss on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 7:28 pm 

    I see Miasmamind has morphed into a Kenz model 400.

  16. Aire on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 8:13 pm 

    That was funny Sissyfuss

  17. ____________________________________________ on Tue, 4th Jul 2017 8:23 pm 

    The cows are falling, the cows are falling! I hope fags with apnea go extinct first.

  18. deadlykillerbeaz on Wed, 5th Jul 2017 8:50 am 

    Hubert, the water accumulators from fog is a problem solver.

    Good video to see out there.

  19. penury on Wed, 5th Jul 2017 10:25 am 

    This article is titled “when scarcity strikes” actually there is not or ever has been a scarcity of resources. The amount of available land,air,and water have remained constant for the earth. The title of the article should be something like “human population exceeds resource base, humans too stupid to care.”

  20. Sissyfuss on Wed, 5th Jul 2017 11:20 am 

    Well said, Pen.

  21. Kenz300 on Sat, 8th Jul 2017 9:11 am 

    Yet the number of people on the planet grows by 83 million every year.

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