FOR a port city whose future is being sold in glittering terms, it is sad that Gwadar is severely lacking in the most essential component of life: water. There is one dam that provides water to Gwadar and its surrounding habitations — Ankara Kaur — but, according to the DC Gwadar, only two weeks of supply remains in the dam. Those who have visited Gwadar, provided they have not stayed in the only luxury hotel there, will testify that acute water shortage is an endemic problem. Gwadar’s residents must be puzzled by the glowing pictures of the city that make it look like Dubai and that appear on posters put up by real-estate agencies and builders who have acquired large speculative stakes in the area. In reality, Gwadar is barren and dry and it is difficult to see how it will be in a position to support thriving commerce anytime soon.
In response to the situation, the chief secretary Balochistan visited Gwadar and was given a detailed briefing by various officials there. For now, the provincial government is putting together plans to bring water to the parched town using tankers. The residents of Gwadar may be used to such hardship, but one wonders how the government intends to permanently overcome this problem in order to fulfil its dreams of turning the place into a thriving global port city. We hear about plans to build a desalination plant, but that requires vast amounts of energy, which in turn requires vast amounts of fuel, which in turn requires a vast infrastructure for storage and handling. Taken together, these need large amounts of financial resources to create and operate. It is not known when all this will happen, but what is clear is that the city cannot live up to the promises being made on its shoulders if water remains such a scarce commodity. The provincial authorities should do more to highlight the high levels of water shortage in the city.
Published in Dawn December 11th, 2016