Population explosion: Pakistan hurtling towards water crisis ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is fast heading towards a water crisis, as water availability in the country continues to decline at a vary fast pace, official documents obtained by Business Recorder showed. The per capita availability of water is currently at 1,011 cubic metres per capita, which is marginally above the minimum requirement of 1000 cubic meters. In 1951, it was 5,269 cubic meters. A Wapda official termed the situation critical and said that the country would be deficient in water to such an extent that it would be unable to meet the requirements of a rising population and an economy heavily dependant on agriculture. â€œWe are heading towards an acute water shortage largely because of rapid population growth and failure of successive governments to build reservoirs to store water,â€ the official added. Top Wapda officials in their presentation to the Senateâ€™s Standing Committee on Water and Power â€˜on present and future scenario of water availability vis-as-vis populationâ€™ showed that per capita water availability would drop to 877 cubic meters by 2020 that is insufficient to meet requirements of 204 million people. Water shortage would be one of the major challenges for the country unless serious efforts were made for the storage of 17.8 million acre-foot water, an official said. According to him, the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam would allow for a water storage capacity of 6.8 million acre-foot. He said that in order for the country to have a net water availability of 17.8 million acre-foot meant that three more dams should be constructed. â€œThe absence of storage facility is leading to massive wastage of water potential.â€ Official documents showed that per capita water availability was 5,260 cubic meters in 1951 with a population of 34 million which declined to 4,159 metric cubic meters in 1961 and 2,838 cubic meters by 1971. Meanwhile, the countryâ€™s population jumped from 34 million in 1951 to 43 million in 1961 and 63 million in 1971. By 1981, the availability of per capita water declined to 2,159 cubic meters and 1,611 cubic meters in 1991 while the countryâ€™s population jumped to 111 million. By 2001, the per capita water availability was reduced to 1,250 cubic meters with a population of 143 million. According to Wapda official, water availability declined to 1011 cubic meter per capita in 2011 whereas population had risen to 180 million. â€œThis is a an alarming situation and policy makers have to take notice and devise short- and long-term policies to avoid being a water shortage country.â€ The overall storage capacity of existing water reservoirs also declined considerably because of sedimentation. Documents showed that the water storage capacity of Tarbela Dam declined by about 30 percent, reducing to 6.77 MAF in 2011 from 9.69 MAF in 1976. The Mangla Damâ€™s storage capacity decreased to 4.54 MAF from 5.34 MAF, Chashma to 0.26 MAF from 0.72 MAF.