By the next 25 years, Pakistan is expected to face complete water scarcity, and given the recent drastic shifts in the climate of Balochistan and other provinces, this could get even worse. These were the views of those who took part in a campaign run by the National Rural Support Organization as part of the Gwadar Lasbela Livelihoods Support Project, which is sponsored by IFAD. The significance of World Food Day 2023 lies in its attention to the relationship between food and water. “Water is Life, Water is Food” is the theme. “Leave No One Behind” emphasizes the importance of water for life on Earth and how it serves as the foundation for nourishment.
In order to draw attention to the dire situation of water scarcity in the districts of Lasbela and Gwadar, where lack of water is a significant cause of poverty and the absence of an agriculture and livestock system, NRSP organized an awareness walk at District Lasbela on the eve of World Food Day.
Project Director, GLLSP-II, Mr. Rehmat Dashti participated in the workshop and walk organized by the NRSP and PIU Lasbela Unit. He addressed that the IFAD-funded Project will develop the infrastructure and schemes for safe drinking water, RO plants, and Solar systems for the provision of drinking water and utility of water in agriculture and livestock. He highlighted the need to work in coordination among different stakeholders towards the collective development of the area. Enhancing the ability of low-income households to contribute to the development of the Communities of Balochistan is the project’s main goal. He continued by saying that the GLLSP-II has provided a safe, clean drinking water facility right at the community’s doors, addressing the issue of water scarcity. Additionally, he claimed that water supply plans will be set up in every hamlet to save the time and effort of the underprivileged men and women who had to carry water from distant locations.
According to Mr. Iqbal Ahmed, Union Council Chairman of UC Sakran Lasbela, the majority of people in Balochistan are employed in the livestock and agricultural industries. He did concede, though, that despite the necessity of water for the two vital sectors of the province and country economies, previous governments had not succeeded in advancing them.
District Program officer of NRSP Mr. Jahangir said, Pakistan, and its province Balochistan—which is the largest province overall—are experiencing severe water scarcity. Since ancient times, Balochistan has been a semi-arid region. The problem has recently gotten worse due to global warming and climate change. There are no rivers in Balochistan and the absence of rain has resulted in much fewer heavy downpours. It is estimated that 12.3 million people in Balochistan lack access to fresh, clean water, making up nearly 85% of the population. Mr. Jahangir appreciated the efforts of the community for the sustainability of schemes established under the GLLSP Project. Mr. Jahangir while addressing the participants said that Gwadar, known to have a great impact on our country’s economy, is facing an acute shortage of drinking water. He said that under the CPEC, two dams are going to be constructed but the progress is very slow. People are still waiting for relief from their thirst. He expressed this hope that the project will facilitate more than 100,000 households by providing clean drinking water schemes to 400 villages of District Lasbela and Gwadar.
Recent statistics state that a staggering 62% of Balochistan is reportedly without access to clean drinking water. Due to a lack of water, more than 58% of its area is quickly becoming desert. Put another way, a lot of farmers have been forced to give up on their fruit plantations due to a lack of water. In Northern and Central Balochistan—known for producing apples, grapes, and other essential fruits—the number of orchards has significantly declined. As a result of their conditions, people continue to pump water from the ground, sometimes more than 1,000 feet deep. In the past, these used to go down between 200 and 300 feet. In Balochistan, a worrisome fact points to how drinking unclean water has become a routine, and due to this, people are in agony from fatal diseases across the province. Interim, the serious diseases caused by drinking dirty water are deemed to be Cholera, Diarrhea, Dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, which are more threatening for the population of Balochistan.
Climate change is also causing changes in the ecology, including a faster melting rate of glaciers. This puts glaciers, an essential supply of water, in jeopardy of melting. Pakistan and South Asia are also two of the regions most impacted by global warming.
Gwadar Lasbela Livelihoods Support Project (GLLSP-II) is a six-year program funded by the International Fund for Development (IFAD) to enhance the livelihoods of more than 100,000 households through the community development process and construction of Jetties and allied infrastructure in the coastal belt of Balochistan.