If there are so many rivers in Pakistan then why is River Indus so important?

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rogal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Dawn News, the major rivers of Pakistan originate from the Karakoram and Himalayan ranges. This system consists of five rivers that mostly go through the province of Punjab, thus giving it its name (“Panj” referring to five, and “aab” for water). These major rivers are Chenab, Ravi, Indus, Jhelum, and Sultej. Of the five, river Indus is the longest at 3180 kilometers. Dawn News refers to river Indus as “the lifeline of Pakistan and the country’s major water supply and support for agriculture.”

It is worth noting that the distribution of water resources in Pakistan is quite uneven, with provinces such as Balochistan having limited access to water supply, being outside of the Indus basin. The Punjab province, on the other hand, is found within the Indus basin, hence has a better supply of water.

River Indus is very important to Pakistanis because its water is actively used in big irrigation and power generation projects. In fact, the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) is one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. The system supports agriculture, which is the second largest industry in Pakistan after the services industry. Irrigated farmlands are thought to take up about 80 percent of the total area under cultivation. This shows the extent to which the people rely on the river for agricultural purposes. Also, the river supplies hydroelectricity to locals via the Mangla and Tarbela dams, with more dams slated for development. As such, the water resources on river Indus are under a lot of strain. It has also been suggested that water is inefficiently used in most parts of Pakistan, leading to water scarcity. For instance, most people still use flood irrigation, an inefficient form of irrigation where a lot of water is wasted via evaporation.