Balochistan— this province celebrated for its natural beauty on Pakistan southwest region is about to run out of water. Provincial Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution demanding immediate relief package for provincial farmers following drought in major parts of Balochistan, MPAs said that Prolong drought in Balochistan the province must be declared as disastrous region.
The drought will be more devastating for the Quetta Valley and its surrounding where the water table had gone down more than 1000 feet during the past one year and in absence of significant rains to recharge or keep water table to sustainable level.
Despite consecutive calls by district administration the Provincial Government is yet to start relief operations in drought hit regions of the province forcing people to migrate towards other areas.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had departed relief goods comprising on food items and tents for 3000 families last week but the distribution of ration is yet to be started among the affected families.
According to reports coming from Chaghi District, the relief goods still kept in official warehouses but the affected families waiting for ration distribution.
In other words, Balochistan can easily beat back the periodical effects of drought which hit this part of the world off and on devastating the local and regional economy for years.
Food security is a perennial problem for Balochistan and the Government had failed to prepare a long term plan to solve the issue of food insecurity in all the five ecological zones of Balochistan.
Flocks and their owners are the main affected people in the devastating drought forcing them to dispose of their assets at throw away prices in absence of availability of water for drinking in remote areas of Balochistan which is huge and also half of Pakistan.
There are reports of water shortages in some parts of Central Balochistan where the efficiency of the Public Health Engineering Department had been questioned. For the past 30 years there was a limited spending on the provision of providing clean drinking water to the people in all parts of Balochistan causing serious scarcity of water for domestic use.
The water shortage and low rainfall in Balochistan’s far flung areas has led to people drinking from unsafe water sources. This has led to more water borne diseases and deaths.
Coastal regions require desalination plants while the local population has to be taught water discipline along with better water management by government agencies. None of this should be taken lightly. It is universally acknowledged that water is life because it is essential to human health, as the human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water.
Indeed, water is food also, as it is indispensable to agriculture and is critical input into a country’s agriculture, especially when it is situated in an arid or semi-arid zone. But how could we ignore the reality that Balochistan are desperately calling for sufficient water to cultivate their lands and are suspicious of each other on the distribution of water.
In the past, there have been wars between the countries over religions, usurpation of territories and control of resources. However, in view of acute shortages of water in Africa, Middle East, Asia and elsewhere, the future wars could be fought over water. The government must give top priority to construction of dams on a war footing to address problems of water and energy shortages.