Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pakistan tackles water crisis with rainwater harvesting

Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio in AlertNet: Wearing colourful traditional dresses with silver jewellery and bangles on their arms, the women of Tharparkar district look festive. But the empty earthen pots they carry tell a different story.

“Walking for three miles and (hoisting) a ... bucket filled with water through a wooden pulley from a 130-feet-deep well twice a day is toilsome work,” says Marvi Bheel, who lives in isolated Morry-je-Wandh village in this arid district of Sindh province, some 450 km (280 miles) south-east of Karachi.

Increasing temperatures and lower rainfalls, believed to be associated with climate change, are creating intense water shortages in much of Pakistan, a situation which is likely to worsen if the country’s 170 million population doubles as projected in the next 25 years.

In response, non-governmental organizations are trying to improve water harvesting in rural areas. A pilot project in Morry-je-Wandh has seen the construction of a large covered pond with the capacity to supply the domestic and drinking water needs of 20 families (135 villagers) for more than eight months. “The new rainwater harvesting facilities have transformed the lives of people, as we have now a safe source of clean water,” said Sobho Bheel, a farmer unrelated to Marvi Bheel....

An ancient Jain temple in the Tharparkar district, shot by Mjakhro, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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