Sunrise at Indus River, DI-Khan. KPK © Zahoor Salmi /

The Survival Issue


Pakistan is a highly water scarce country (964 m3/capita). Increasing urbanization and industrialization are major factors contributing to the quantity and quality of Pakistan's water resources.

Major cities in Pakistan are already facing problems of groundwater extraction and draw-down of water-tables.


During the 1960s, Lahore's groundwater table Lahore was about 5m deep. Today the water table level has dropped down to 40m due to excessive withdrawal of groundwater by public and private tube wells, with low recharge rate.
The capacity of country's water reservoirs for storing water is also shrinking. The water storage capacity of Tarbela, Mangla, and Chashma Dams has reduced by 27 per cent. In addition, the unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change have increased incidents of floods and drought in various parts of the region causing adverse impacts on agriculture, freshwater, habitats, ecosystems, human life and consequently on the country's economy.


Toxic industrial effluents, agricultural runoff and untreated sewage have polluted rivers and their tributaries so heavily that the water supply sources have now become the mines of life-threatening diseases. Furthermore, intrusion of salt water owing to low water flows below Kotri Barrage has degraded the quality of surface water affecting all life forms including livestock, vegetation, fishes and mangrove forests in the sea.

 / © Zahoor Salmi/ WWF-Pakistan
Nagar Parkar, Pakistan © WWF-Paksitan