Imbalanced hydrological cycle

Pakistan ranks among some of the most water-stressed countries in the world.

Pakistan ranks among some of the most water-stressed countries in the world. Despite progress in water accessibility, nearly 21 million Pakistanis still do not have access to clean and potable water. Pakistan is now among the nations impacted by “an out of balance” hydrological cycle due to climate change in 2022. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) called for a fundamental policy shift to improve water monitoring.

Last year, several parts of the country endured intense droughts and heat waves. The heat waves triggered glacier melts, which were followed by intense rainfall and flooding during the monsoon season. As we already observed, these unprecedented weather events have brought about significant challenges for both the local population and the nation as a whole. International organisations cautioned Pakistan about its susceptibility to climate-related disasters. However, the country still falls short in terms of research and monitoring, which are essential for making decisions based on evidence and taking timely actions. Regrettably, Pakistani policymakers appear to have gleaned little from the extensive devastation of the previous year, as they have not managed to formulate and implement suitable policy frameworks for addressing climate-related concerns.

With climate change exacerbating imbalances in the hydrological cycle and rising water shortages across Pakistan, there is no time to waste. WMO’s warnings should serve as a wake-up call for Pakistani policymakers and other stakeholders working on climate change. Policymakers need to take concrete measures to improve water monitoring and management to safeguard our water resources and alleviate the risks of water-related disasters. Pakistani authorities should seek the assistance of global organisations to mitigate these challenges. The time for proactive global cooperation and data-driven decision-making in water management is now before the hydrological cycle spins further out of balance.

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