Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Speakers called for investing in rainwater harvesting in arid areas

Idris Rajput, former Secretary Irrigation speaking during the paper launching ceremony

Friend of Indus Forum (FIF) in collaboration with Climate Change Adaptation Project (CCAP) of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan launched position paper titled ‘Rainwater Harvesting in Arid Areas’ at a local hotel in Karachi. Speakers highlighted the need to conserve water in arid areas of Thar,Kachho and Kohistanareas of Sindh. They said that frequency of droughts has increased in recent years which can only be addressed through introducingrainwater harvesting techniques.
Speaking on the occasion, A.N.G Abbasi former Minister Irrigation and water expert said that there is an urgent need to store rain water in arid areas of Sindh. He said that rainfall is declining and drought has become regular phenomenon in arid regions of Sindh. He further said that water is crucial for sustaining human population and livestock which is major source of sustenance and income for the people. He also said that before initiating water harvesting project, hydrological, meteorological and geological studies must be conducted to ascertain its feasibility.
Idris Rajput, former Secretary Sindh Irrigation department said that Sindh is facing acute shortage ofwater due to construction of dams and canals at upper Indus River. He also maintained that climate change is also a main factor behind water scarcity in arid areas. He emphasized that arid areas of Sindh should be given due attention and drinking water facilities should be provided to them.
Nasir Ali Panhwar, General Secretary, Friends of Indus Forum said that the Forum has developed a series of position papers which highlight significant environmental challenges facing Sindh particularly Indus Ecoregion. He also said that it is essential that rainwater is effectively used to sustain people’s livelihoods as well as all types of biotic life. The areas receiving less and erratic rains are termed as arid and semi-arid areas and about 60% of the total geographic area of Pakistan are under these conditions, he added
Rab Nawaz, Director WWF-Pakistan said that Pakistan is endowed with rich natural resources and biodiversity. He said that WWF-Pakistan is striving to provide alternative energy and livelihood opportunities to the local communities. He also said that under CCAP project freshwater ponds have been constructed in KetiBunder, district Thatta which cater to the basic drinking needs of the local people. ‘WWF-Pakistan is working in partnership with government departments, FIF, media and other stakeholders to address environmental challenges facing Pakistan’ he added.
Dr. Ghulam RasoolKeeriosaid that rainwater harvestingis the process of the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse and has the potential to increase Pakistan’s water resources. He maintained thatrainwater harvesting can be done using several techniques. The most common are the use of ponds, small dams, wells, underground and aboveground tanks, natural lakes and the use of roof-top harvesting. He said thatthe rainwater in arid areas is not properly managed with the result that this natural resource is not utilized in effective way. He emphasized that rainwater harvesting in the arid areas of Pakistan is required in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for water.
Noor Ahmed Janjhi researcher from Thar said that there is an urgent need to prepare comprehensive water resources profile of Thar district as there are 16 rainwater streams only in KaronjharMountain. He also said that cultural tradition of aakhopayo, meenhwasayo (ask for contribution, bring the rain) about rainwater harvesting in Thar should be documented and local folk wisdom should be incorporated in scientific research.
While, Muhammad Khan Marri of BaanhnBelisaid that acute water shortage is a major impediment towards obtaining the full potential of crop yields, towards developing rangelands and increasing livestock production. He reiterated the need to utilize rainwater, particularly in arid zones like Kohistan, Thar, Thal and Cholistan for agriculture and livestock purposes. The groundwater in these arid areas is mostly saline, and therefore cannot be used. ‘In order to prevent the migration of people and livestock from arid lands to irrigated areas, it is essential to utilize water resources effectively through the use of groundwater recharge, using saline groundwater for range land management, and most importantly, utilizing rainwater through rainwater harvesting techniques’, he added
Former Secretary Forests, Shams-ul-HaqMemon; Zafar Talpur, NazirEssani, G.M Abro and others also spoke on the occasion.

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