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GHALANAI: Several water supply schemes and wells have dried up because of prolonged dry spell in the hilly Haleemzai, Khwezai and Biazai tehsils of Mohmand, forcing people to purchase the commodity.

“We bring water from a distance of about seven kilometers through a private water tanker as several areas of the tribal region are faced with severe shortage of water,” Wasim Khan, a resident of Koz Ghandao, said.

The government had spent Rs2.25 billion during the last few years on water supply schemes, but the issue of drinking water is still unresolved in Mohmand, a region having rugged mountains and barren slopes.

Tribal people said wells were dug and tubewells installed by the government in different areas of Mohmand, but those could not fulfill their water needs of locals. They said water supply schemes had become useless due to the prolonged dry spell.

A small dam was constructed in Pandiali tehsil at a cost of Rs22.3 million in 2004, but a low flood washed it away owing to use of substandard material, they said, adding construction work on the damaged dam was progress, which would help overcome the water shortage in the tehsil.

Hamza Khan, a resident of Khwezai, said that due to acute water shortage people were forced to use water staying in ponds for drinking purposes. He said children of poor families, who can’t afford buying water from tankers, fetched the commodity in pitchers or other utensils from far-flung areas.

Maloom Khan, a tribesman, said in many villages people were using contaminated water for cooking, feeding animals and washing purposes. He said the government should construct small dams to help resolve the issue of water shortage.

Arab Khan, another local, said Guz Gandao, Anat Kor and Khera Din Katta Sar areas of Haleemzai tehsil were experiencing drought-like situation.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018