Water scarcity in Balochistan

Published on – June 16, 2017 – 7:00 am

There are protest demonstrations in dozens of cities and townships of Balochistan complaining serious shortage of water for drinking and domestic use. The people are holding rallies, chanting slogans,

There are protest demonstrations in dozens of cities and townships of Balochistan complaining serious shortage of water for drinking and domestic use. The people are holding rallies, chanting slogans,

carrying banners and placard demanding water for drinking and domestic use. The local administration almost in all the regions is stunned and unable to tackle the water crisis as they had no means to find additional water for local consumption. There is a serious flaw in planning at the provincial level as the Government and its inapt functionaries failed to visualize the demand for water in next ten or 20 years.

The fault line lies at the level of Provincial Government where the inapt officials were found least interested in problems of people, nor they had guts to plan and execute development schemes beyond the culture of ‘cut and paste’ at a roadside vending shops’ in Quetta. The whole process is being used for earning quick billions now a days and not millions at the cost of the public exchequer.

Gwadar and its deepwater port is a classic case of water shortage where the officials failed to de-silt the water reservoir of Akra Kaur Dam Project increasing its storage capacity as an immediate solution to the current phase of water shortage even for drinking. There were occasional and seasonal rains in the area and no one took the interest to store some more water for the rainy days by de-silting the water storage area of the Akra Kaur Dam. The Dam is a complete network for storage of water and its supply to the local residents. The whole system was allowed to be destroyed, first of all the corrupt NESPAK engineers and later on the PHE officials should be blamed for complete destruction of the water supply system. Presumably, they all joined hands to punish the innocent people by denying them water for drinking and domestic use.

There are more than 370 major, medium size and small rivers flowing in the Mekran region alone. They are all seasonal rivers. In one flood, the Nihing River was carrying a discharge of 350,000 cusecs of water and the Kech River also carried 350,000 cusecs of water.

The down flow of  flood in the Dasht River was estimated at 700,000 cusec which is far above the down flows of Rivers Ravi and Chenab or any other major river of Punjab, barring Indus. Balochistan is almost half of Pakistan in terms of territory or bigger if we include the territorial waters of Balochistan Coast. After a hue and cry of more than half a century, one Mirani Dam is built and the Kachhi Canal is still under construction for the past quarter of a century.

It shows the level of interest the rulers are taking to resolve the main problem of water starved Province by building medium size dams in all parts of Balochistan. Simply, a dam in the downstream of Dasht River and closer to the Mekran Coast could have solved the water problem for Gwadar decades ago. The rulers prefer to use Pakistan Navy ships to transport drinking water for the residents of Gwadar from Karachi. It is a strange planning. There are more than half a dozen major rivers flowing close to the Mekran Coast on the Pakistani side and they had the potentials to provide needed fresh water to the local residents, including for business, commerce and industry if medium size dams or water storage facilities are developed right from Karachi to Jiwani. Bulk of the development budget should be used in building quality roads connecting cities, developing water resources and financing productive projects in Mines and Minerals, Livestock, fisheries and agriculture. More than 80 per cent population of the Baloch Mainland is engaged in these four productive sectors of Mines, Livestock, Fisheries and Agriculture. They are the ignored sector for the Provincial Planning and Development department. They are discriminated and ignored for more than half a century. A Mafia is controlling the resources and it is opposed to development of the potential and productive economic sectors