WATER has a critical role in a province’s economy as well as biodiversity. Balochistan, the largest province, which constitutes majority of the total area of Pakistan, is home to just about six per cent of the total population.

However, water shortage is affecting its economy and biodiversity. Only about two million hectares of land is being cultivated due to water shortage, and in many areas, people face water problems in everyday life. Low rainfall in Balochistan’s far-flung areas has also led to people drinking unsafe water. Some of the affected areas are Awaran, Gwadar and Quetta. The main cause behind water scarcity is the lack of dams in the province.

Gwadar is often touted as the key to the future of the country. Unfortunately, the city residents also face many problems due to water scarcity because one tanker of water costs Rs15,000 and the poor cannot afford to buy clean drinking water.

In Awaran’s Nondro and Mayhi areas, people are compelled to walk for at least one kilometre searching for water. Most of the time, they return empty-handed and dehydrated.The situation is not too different in Quetta.

I urge the Balochistan government to provide access to clean drinking water to the address the water scarcity issue.

Sudia Noor

Mashkay

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

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