Pakistan Flooding Because of Farms?
The country’s current floods are far worse because of decades of river and floodplain mismanagement, experts say.
Pakistan’s extreme floods, which have displaced 20 million people and swamped a fifth of the country, have been made far worse by decades of river mismanagement, experts say.
In Pakistan’s wide plains where the bulk of the population lives, the rivers swelled by monsoons have been confined by levees, dams, and canals, in much the same way the Mississippi River has in the United States.
On Pakistan’s glacial-fed Indus River, the British started to build a system of canals and small dams for diverting water onto fields, when Pakistan was part of their Indian colony.
Since Pakistani independence in 1947, river managers have expanded the canal system. Now, instead of the natural flow from the Himalaya in the north to the Arabian Sea