Why Pakistan needs more reservoirs, and fast

Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

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Peking University, Beijing, China.

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Political indecision is paving the way for a water crisis in Pakistan — and on a scale that affects the whole country, not just a metropolis (see M. Muller Nature 559, 174–176; 2018). We urge the incoming Pakistani government to break with a history of procrastination and provide more reservoirs with adequate capacity before it is too late.

Per person, Pakistan has the lowest dam storage capacity in the world (see Since identifying potential sites about 40 years ago, successive governments have continued to shy away from constructing new dams because of financial factors and political differences. The country has yet to build a dam large enough to meet its burgeoning water demand.

As Pakistan’s partner in the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, China can provide lessons on the effective management of water supplies (see, for example, J. Huang and G. Yang Glob. Food Secur. 12, 119–126; 2017).

Bold decisions, backed by political, economic and environmental viability, are needed to safeguard the world’s sixth-largest population from increasingly severe droughts linked to future climate change.

Nature 560, 431 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-06016-w

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