Water crisis deepens in Thar as firm warns of shutting RO plants

Published June 4, 2018
Locals queue up to fetch water from an RO  plant in Tharparkar. — Photo by Author
Locals queue up to fetch water from an RO plant in Tharparkar. — Photo by Author

A private firm operating 513 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in Tharparkar on Monday warned of shutting them down by June 7 if its payments are not cleared, deepening the prevalent water crisis in the area.

A spokesperson of the firm told Dawn that it has not been paid by the Sindh government for the past 11 months and is facing severe financial constraints.

According to a report on the survey of 680 water schemes — submitted to the Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission on water quality in Sindh — the people of the desert region have only been left with the option of getting water from solar RO plants as 38 out of 81 water supply schemes are non-functional while the rest are facing an acute water shortage.

As a result, around 480 RO plants are providing the water to over 0.16 million people living in the region.

The survey was conducted by teams under the supervision of assistant commissioners of the seven talukas of Thar on the directions of Deputy Commissioner Dr Abdul Hafeez Siyal in compliance with the orders of the judicial commission.

The report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, says there are 81 water supply schemes meant to be provided with canal water but half of these are non-functional while others are facing acute water shortage mainly because of non-release of water in the only irrigation outlet of the district, Rand Minor.

There are 513 plants running under the Special Initiative Department which are run by the firm, while Sindh Coal Authority runs and maintains 68 plants. The survey teams found that 120 of these plants are out of order.

Small dams in the hilly areas of Nagarparkar, a major source of water, have already dried up, reducing their sources of water to wells and RO plants which are now also quickly drying up.

The spokesman of the firm, which was tasked with the installation of over 700 RO plants by the previous PPP government, informed Dawn that it has written several letters to concerned departments to resolve the issues but they have remained unresolved which is why the company is facing massive financial constraints.

He added that the company is unable to pay salaries to hundreds of its employees operating the plants.

The locals, while talking to Dawn, expressed their deep concern on the worsening water crisis and said that canal water has not been available for several months making them totally dependent on solar RO plants.

They also urged the government to take immediate steps to resolve the issue.



Horror in Sialkot
Updated 05 Dec 2021

Horror in Sialkot

All it takes now is an allegation of blasphemy and an individual or two to incite a mob to commit murder.
05 Dec 2021

Iran deadlock

EFFORTS to revive the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Austrian capital of Vienna appear to be deadlocked, and...
05 Dec 2021

Reality of AIDS

AS World AIDS Day was marked on Dec 1, it came as a sobering reminder of how newer, major health hazards — the...
Stock market carnage
Updated 04 Dec 2021

Stock market carnage

PAKISTAN’S stock market has been on a downward ride for the last several months as a result of deteriorating...
04 Dec 2021

Omicron threat

THE NCOC has suggested installing more oxygen plants in various parts of the country as the new Covid-19 variant,...
04 Dec 2021

UK spymaster speaks

A RECENT speech by the chief of MI6 — the UK’s external intelligence agency — provided a key insight into the...