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Indus River and Irrigation Issues, Pakistan

27.6N 68.3E

April 4th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Pakistan - March 18th, 2012

Pakistan has a vast irrigation network that distributes the water of the Indus River (visible flanked by a wide green valley) and other waterways, comprising three major storage reservoirs, 19 dams, 43 main canals with a conveyance length of 57,000 km, and 89,000 watercourses with a running length of more than 1.65 million km, according to the World Conservation Union. The system feeds more than 15 million hectares of farmland, giving Pakistan the highest ratio of irrigated land to rain-fed land in the world.

However, this extensive irrigation system is also causing environmental problems. In particular there is concern that moving large volumes of water from rivers has often left insufficient flow to meet the needs of downstream ecosystems. Coastal and marine regions, because they lie at the end of rivers, have been impacted most heavily by the removal and redistribution of water further upstream.

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