Pakistan’s water resources: overview and challenges

Muhammad Arif Watto, Michael Mitchell, Taimoor Akhtar

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Pakistan has a vision to become one of the top ten global economies by the middle of this century, but has to achieve that transition despite being one of the most water-stressed and arid countries in the world. Its water availability goes through extremes from too much to too little water, and climate change is projected to exacerbate these extremes. For decades, the monumental Indus Basin Irrigation System has been a lifeline, allowing Pakistan’s agricultural economy to boom. While the system continues to grow, intensification of agriculture has meant surface water supply is being rapidly replaced with groundwater, and Pakistan has now become the fourth largest groundwater withdrawing country in the world. Yet Pakistan is also among the top five wastewater producing countries, with only 1.2% of that wastewater being treated. This chapter introduces the challenges Pakistan faces in achieving a more sustainable use of its water resources, emphasising that many of these challenges require social and institutional change. It then provides an overview of the chapters, showing how each chapter contributes to a deeper understanding of these challenges, as well as offering practical suggestions for how Pakistan’s future challenges can be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWater resources of Pakistan: issues and impacts
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-65679-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-65678-2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021

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