Last week, the whole world including Pakistan observed the International Water Day. Commitments were renewed to water conservation, the key factor to sustainability and survival of life on the earth. The developed states have proved their words by achieving the goals set for proper water management. However, no tangible progress has so far been made to even draft a proper water management or conservation plan. So much so the severe droughts, devastating floods, shrinking water reservoirs capacity and land erosion have fallen on deaf ears of the decision makers. Although the whole Pakistan is bearing the brunt of the water shortage, yet Balochistan has emerged the worst region which is constantly hit by water crisis. According to latest statistics, less than 15 percent population in the province has access to bacteria-free water supply while maximum average rain recorded is 200mm annually which means a bigger segment of the local people have no facility of running water. The province has as many as 13 major river basins, but unfortunately no serious effort has been made by the official quarters for the past half a century to tame floods, build sufficient water storage facilities or construct dams, small or medium. Even check dams and delay action dams are not built to meet the basic requirements. However, the people did use their indigenous wisdom building earthen dams to store floods or rain water in all parts of Balochistan. This awful tale does not end here. Human life, biodiversity as well as forestation are vulnerable to the water crisis in Balochstan. The constant water shortage is forcing the local people to migrate other regions like Muscat, UAE while majority of the Baloch people have migrated to Sindh and Punjab for a sustainable life. On the other side, new projects like Kacchi Canal and Mirnai Dam are in progress for Balochistan, yet the province has no infrastructure to take the provincial water quota from the Indus River system. The province has vast potential for using surface water that is around 10 MAF. Only 3 maf are being used sparing the rest fall in sea unused. Building a chain of dams – big and small – for irrigation and undertaking flood conservation and recharge schemes are the best doable options to cope with the deteriorating situation in the province. The windmill technology can also be used in augmenting water resources in Chagai and Kharan. But all this demands serious initiatives and commitments on the part of leadership, as persistent water crisis would turn the province into desert.

By Web Team

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