By Maryam Iraj
Save water or else we die soon out of thirst. By 2025, we shall be living in a Pakistan which will be devoid of water and 70% of our water reservoirs would be running dry.
For example, Baluchistan which once was famous for the deep blue, crystal waters of Pakistan is suffering from the crushing braces of water crisis. According to experts, not only available water reservoirs are running dry but also previously abundant reservoirs have shrunk in the past decade, and with the ongoing political currents, situation will get only worse.
Twenty one years ago in 1997, Baluchistan was struck for the first time with water shortage. A drought in 2000 originated from Aranji, a sub-tehsil (division) of Khuzdar district, whipped through 22 districts of Baluchistan. It was the first alarm which must have gotten our government on heels. But in the past seventeen years, we had nothing but political fiascoes to mortify the nation.
This water scourge in Baluchistan has elicited a massive migration, impelling people to move due to hunger and diseases. Successive provincial governments superficially justified that they have been able to reverse the process. But verbosity never severs the purpose. Pakistan is set to hit a bigger cataclysm, national water crisis, brewing from the political and academic negligence.
In May, upon the suo motu notice of the acute water situation in Baluchistan by the chief justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, two former chief ministers of the crisis-struck province were summoned to the court to explain the fatal situation. Many present in the apex court claimed to be in receipt of the donations to deal with the water crisis. CJP readily replied that donation money aloe won’t solve this catastrophic situation, it needs political acumen and will to pull through this deadly situation alive. According to CJP, we need to be responsible to pay our water bills on time, and illegal water connections of tube-wells and water reserves must be disconnected.
There were times, few decades ago, when heavy snow and rainfalls were enjoyed and were perceived as sources of replenishing the underground water.
According to the provincial government’s data, there is a visible decline in the average rainfall in the province annually, from 19.5 inches in 1982 to less than 4 inches in 2018.
It further adds that at present, the annual refill of underground water is about 38 cusecs against the annual release of 67 cusecs, amounting to the deficit of 29 cusecs.
In Baluchistan’s capital city, Quetta, the water level is at decline at the rate of 10 feet every year. With these disastrous calculations, in some areas, lands have to be drilled at a depth of 1,500-4,000 feet for quick relief.
Hundreds of underground water tunnels have also been dried up due to a deepening of the water level. Some of the water tunnels, traditional water sources, have been in service of the Pakistani people since the era of Mughals. These perforated tunnels with the length of almost one to five kilometers at a stretch have been dried up now.
If we keep losing our water reservoirs and have no planning to deal with water emergency at present and in future, we shall suffer from massive migrations while hopelessly awaiting the cataclysm.
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