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Asia’s Biggest River Structure and Water Network of Pakistan

Asia’s Biggest River Structure and Water Network of Pakistan

By Arfa Zahid

The Indus River basin supplies water to the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world, providing water for 90% of the food production in Pakistan, which contributes 25% of the country’s gross domestic product. Irrigation dominates water use in Pakistan and is expected to continue as the major user of both surface water and groundwater resources into the future. As development proceeds and the population and the country’s economy both grow, competition for water resources will become a major concern. The irrigation system is responsible for more than 90 percent of the country’s agricultural output, which accounts for a significant portion of the country’s GDP. Agriculture, like in many other nations across the world, is the backbone of the Pakistani economy, and the irrigation system is a key, and in some cases, the sole source of food production. The river system of Pakistan originates from the snow-covered Himalayan and the Karakoram range.

Pakistan is rich in fertile land, and its irrigation is regarded to be one of the world’s greatest, including the Indus River, which is one of Asia’s longest rivers, among others. Pakistan has one of the largest contiguous irrigation systems in the world, known as the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS). The System comprises six major rivers, that is, the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Kabul, and their catchments.  Pakistan’s Indus Basin Irrigation System is the heart of the country’s economy as Pakistan’s economy is largely based on its agricultural produce; water is therefore a critical resource for its sustained economic development. The IBIS irrigates 45 million acres of farm land which produces wheat, rice, fruits, vegetables, sugarcane, maize and cotton in abundance for local use as well as for export. Because of Indus Basin Irrigation System over 14 million hectares of land is now irrigated. Today the IBIS has three large dams, 85 small dams, 19 barrages, 12 inter-river link canals, 45 canal commands and 700,000 tube wells. The Indus Basin Irrigation System ensure to that farmland receive a supply of water for irrigation, a system has been constructed consisting of dam, canals and reservoirs. reservoirs to fish farms which provide new job opportunities for local families. Dams were constructed to regulate and supplement flows in irrigation network to sustain Pakistan’s agriculture. These dams are operated primarily according to irrigation requirements of the country while inexpensive hydroelectricity is produced as a byproduct. Every year flood came in Pakistan and destroyed different areas but now the government has built different dams which prevents destructions from floods. Pakistan linked its rivers through a canal-link system. Canals were taken out from the rivers, through dams and barrages.