Pakistan

Water situation worsening in Balochistan, says Alyani

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By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has said that if the water crisis in his province is not addressed timely the situation will be more serious within the next five to 10 years.

Speaking at a consultative workshop on ‘Balochistan Water Resources’ here on Tuesday, he said: “We need to utilise our resources with utmost care and caution and every individual would have to play a role in this connection.”

The workshop was organised by the European Union (EU) in collaboration with the Balochistan Rural Support Programme.

The chief minister said the water crisis had gripped the entire country, but it was more serious in Balochistan owing to wrong planning, shortage of dams in the country and low precipitation.

“We have declared a water emergency in the province soon after formation of our government,” he said.

Calls for utilising resources ‘with utmost care and caution’

Mr Alyani said agriculture and livestock were very crucial sectors for the economy of the province with which a large portion of the country’s population was linked. “Water crisis has also caused serious impact on both sectors,” he said.

Because of the water crisis people had to migrate from rural to urban areas, he said, adding that migrations always caused demographic changes and created a number of issues.

The chief minister said the Quetta city was once rich with water resources, but unfortunately now people were compelled to buy tankers because water channels in the city’s surroundings and other areas had dried. “Now we need to devise a proper strategy and planning to get rid of the water crisis and ensure better future for coming generations,” he added.

He thanked the EU for helping Balochistan and said his government was making efforts to introduce new techniques in the agriculture sector so that less water was consumed and more production was achieved.

The chief minister said there would be serious repercussions if pumping of ground water was not stopped promptly. “We have resources and now we need better planning,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, EU’s representative Milko van Gool said that the EU had a multi-annual cooperation programme with the government of Pakistan.

Under the programme, the EU was providing a technical assistance grant of 40 million euros dedicated to the Revival of Balochistan Water Resou­rces Programme, he added.

He said at a request of the government of Pakistan, the EU launched an identification mission (completed in July 2018) followed by a formulation mission, which is currently ongoing.

EU consultants Shammy Puri and Rieks Bosch provided presentations on the background to the current status of land, water resources and related pressures.

Provincial Minister for Public Health Engineering Noor Mohammad Dumar said ground water resources were depleting and rural population was receiving water through tankers. The situation demanded adoption of new methodologies for the revival of ground water resources, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2018

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