Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Water storage efforts reverse migration in Pakistan

Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio in AlertNet: A year ago, Aslam Bibi and her family left their village and moved to a nearby town, desperate to find a way to eke out a living in the face of failing rainfall that made subsistence impossible. But after a few months, Bibi returned, drawn back home by news of newly constructed reservoirs that have begun soaking the parched farmlands in her area and replenishing underground aquifers.

Water is now supplied to Bibi’s village of Ghool from a nearby reservoir and mini dam. Stored rainwater is funnelled through a 4 km-long (2.5-mile) pipeline. The dam, completed in July of this year, is part of a project to mitigate the effects of climate change in rural areas hard hit by declining rainfall.

“My husband has resumed cultivation of groundnuts on our four acres,” Bibi said happily while sewing clothes in the courtyard of her home. “I no longer leave home in the morning to fetch water for drinking, sanitation and other domestic needs,” she added. Instead, the 39-year-old spends the first half of each day as a tailor to support the family’s income – time she had previously needed to fetch water from a natural pond some 4 km (2.5 miles) from her home.

Bibi’s village is in Chakwal district, at the beginning of the Potohar plateau and the Salt Range of hills, about 90 km (56 miles) south-east of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. The district stretches over 6,500 square km (2,500 square miles) of arid terrain, and its population of nearly 1.5 million rely on rainfall for their water supply. The region has seem worrisome reductions in recent years in the rainfall it receives, a change experts say may be the result of climate change....

Sacred pool around which the Katas Raj is built. Katas Raj temple is a Hindu temple situated in Katas village in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan. Dedicated to Shiva. Shot by Gorkan, Wikimedia Commons,  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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