River Basins' Management, Wetlands' Development Vital To Reduce

Flood Risk: Ministry

River basins' management, wetlands' development vital to reduce
flood risk: Ministry

ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 4th Augst,2016) :Effective management of river basins and development of wetlands along the major tributaries should be the vital part of the strategy to reduce the flood risk especially during monsoon season, a senior official of the Ministry of Climate Change said Thursday. "Such measures can also increase underground water resources, which are fast depleting," Deputy Director Media and Communications Mohammad Saleem told APP.

"Of all the devastating impacts of climate change being experienced by the country, floods are proving to be more destructive, causing socio-economic losses of worth billions of rupees," he said. The present government, he said, was aware of the climate change-induced flood risk in the country and was taking all-out practical measures to mitigate its impacts on the lives of people, their livelihoods, public infrastructure, particularly agriculture.

Despite the generally arid nature of Pakistan's climate, the country supported an estimated 780,000 acres of wetlands that cover 9.7 percent of the total surface area of the country. In excess of 225 significant wetlands sites are on record, 19 of these have been internationally recognized by the Ramsar Convention as being of global importance. Indeed, the diverse assortment of freshwater and marine wetlands that occur within Pakistan support unique combinations of biodiversity, he said.

He said "Pakistan's permanent and seasonal wetlands are globally significant in two ways: first, in terms of the intrinsic value of their indigenous biodiversity and secondly, as an acute example of the poverty/subsistence-use nexus that constitutes one of the most fundamental threats to biodiversity worldwide. The high global significance of Pakistan's wetlands is attributable to the diversity of species that they support. In all 18 threatened species of wetlands dependent mammals are found in the country including the endemic Indus River Dolphin.

Further, 20 threatened bird species are supported by Pakistan's wetlands in addition to 12 reptiles. Pakistan's wetlands also support between 191-198 indigenous freshwater fish species (including 15 endemics) and a total of 788 marine and estuarine fish species. The high altitude wetlands, characterized by sites such as Karumbar Lake and Saucher Lake, at 4,250 m on the Deosai Plains, represent a relatively unique category of alpine wetlands that is confined to the Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram mountain corridors.