Indus basin floods of 2010: Souring of a Faustian bargain?

Daanish Mustafa
Department of Geography, King'€™s College, London; daanish.mustafa@kcl.ac.uk
David Wrathall
Department of Geography, King'€™s College, London; david.wrathall@kcl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: The great flood of 2010 in Pakistan was not an accidental, unpredictable and random episode in the hydrologic development of the Indus basin, but rather a by-product of national decisions on water use, integrally linked, as well, to the design of the social landscape. In immediate and mid terms, acute impacts are expected to be concentrated among households with fragile and sensitive livelihoods. To attenuate an evolving low-level humanitarian, social and political crisis, and to prevent backsliding to Pakistan'€™s development progress, attention should focus on water drainage and rapid rehabilitation of farmland. Local government structures can be engaged in the distribution and implementation of recovery programs. In Pakistan, the hydrological priorities have always been irrigation and power generation, but in the interest of preventing a costly recurrence, Pakistani flood management and early alert systems require structural revision.