Indus Delta faces colossal damage due to water shortage
Delta is facing numerous challenges such as lack of adequate freshwater flows, degradation of precious mangroves, ecosystem, sea intrusion, loss of livelihood and vulnerability to disasters.
If the process continues, many more forest, fish, bird and wildlife species may vanish soon.
The 1991 Water Accord must incorporate environmental flow concept and Indus delta be declared as fifth shareholder of Indus water distribution, bedsides four provinces – Environmental Expert Nasir Panhwar
Indus delta is facing an impending colossal damage due to shortage of water in downstream Kotri barrage, with the increased abstraction of water upstream, as the quantity of silt reaching the delta has drastically reduced.
This was stated by environmental expert Nasir Ali Panhwar in a session titled “Indus Delta: environmental and socioeconomic issues and solutions” organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University Karachi on December 31, 2021.
He said that the Indus Delta is ranked as the 5th largest one in the world and holds 97% of the total mangroves forests of Pakistan. “Indus delta is facing numerous challenges such as lack of adequate freshwater flows, degradation of precious mangroves ecosystem, sea intrusion, loss of livelihood and vulnerability to disasters,” he said.
Panhwar added that losses to ecosystem functioning and services are large and irreparable as several habitats and ecosystems are lost and so are the ecosystem services. “The shrinking of ecosystem services has seriously affected economic productivity, including decrease in Palla fish breeding and catch, riverine forest products, and loss of wildlife species, agriculture and marine fish species,” he elaborated.
He pointed out that if the process continues, many more forest, fish, bird and wildlife species may vanish soon. He recommended that the 1991 water accord must incorporate environmental flow concept and Indus delta be declared as fifth shareholder of Indus water distribution, bedsides four provinces.
Speaking on the occasion, the Vice Chancellor SMIU Prof Dr. Mujeebuddin Sahrai Memon said that till a century ago, Thatta was a hub of export and trade in the region as ports were located there and added that even till a decade ago, these towns were vibrant in business and commerce related to agriculture, fisheries but the situation is quite abysmal at present. He viewed while advising the policymakers, that if the water is released to Indus delta as per 1991 Indus water accord the situation can be improved drastically.
Dean Faculty of Sciences Dr. Syed Asif Ali, Director ORIC Dr. Aamir Iqbal Umrani, Manager ORIC Dr. Muhammad Afzal Chhajro, Chairperson Department of Environmental Sciences Dr. Imran Chhajro and Coordinator of the department Abdul Majeed Pirzada, and large number of students were present on the occasion.