Published On: Mon, Sep 21st, 2015

Climate change causes water scarcity, food insecurity in Tharparkar

English Infographic__1442778760_43.246.223.7

Abdul Hussain Nagri

MITHI, THARPARKAR: Considering the precious resource of water, Tharparkar is considered to be one of the most sensitive and insecure areas in Asia. Residents have faced severe drought at least thrice in each decade since the 1960s. While meteorologists attribute this scarcity to global climate change, Pakistan ranks 16th on the list of countries facing severe environmental problems due to climate change.

After a gap of three years, Thar Desert experienced rain this monsoon but it was not enough to cover the damages done in the last three years.

According to Dinesh Mushawar, an official of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Tharparkar, insufficient amount of rain for the last three years, especially in the monsoon season has presented challenges for farmers.

“Change in climate and drought have damaged the crops, yielding no commercial or domestic crops for the farmers,” he says.

Although it rained more than 400mm this year, there was no pouring after July 28, adding to the looming dangers of water scarcity.

Considering the precious resource of water, Tharparkar is considered to be one of the most sensitive and insecure areas in Asia

Considering the precious resource of water, Tharparkar is considered to be one of the most sensitive and insecure areas in Asia

The inhabitants of Thar obtain water by two means: rain and underground water wells. In a rather unique way of storing and distributing water, they build ponds to store water outside the house for domestic and agricultural use.

A less preferred way to obtain water is to dig water wells, which produces saltwater. This briny water is rich in Sodium Chloride and other minerals, and its stickiness is damaging to the human body. It also causes diseases, both in humans and in animals alike.

Hence, scarcity of water has forced both humans and animals to use the same sources of water, i.e. reservoirs and ponds.

Women and children, endangering their lives, walk more than five miles every day to get access to any kind of water source, as all kinds of wild predators are also on their way to find water. Incidents of rape have also been reported by women who make this arduous journey daily.  

To deal with the problem, the Government of Sindh installed as many as 750 solar energy-powered Reverse Osmosis Systems (ROS) to filter saltwater, making it fit for human consumption.

In Thar Desert, women and children, endangering their lives, walk more than five miles every day to get access to water source-Photo The Nature News

In Thar Desert, women and children, endangering their lives, walk more than five miles every day to get access to water source-Photo The Nature News

However, due to a lack of maintenance and administration, more than half of the ROS stopped working within a few months of installation.

Some of the affected villages, however, after receiving aid from national and international organisations were able to build water reservoirs on their own. These reservoirs collect rainwater, and are equipped with water filtration plants for providing a clean water source for the village folk. They also act as collecting units to fulfil the demand in times of scarcity. Yet, there are villages that are far from the reach of such organisations, forcing the residents to suffer.

“We earn money through agriculture and animal breeding. We grow cotton, grass, hay and vegetables to support ourselves and our animals. But for the last three years we have not been able to do that due to water shortage,” says Khet Singh, a resident of Haryaar area of Tharparkar.

“We have to constantly take loans to keep our households running. Once the drought is over, we will sell our crops and animals and payoff these loans. If the drought continues, it will burden us with more debt.”

It hasn’t rained since July, which indicates a drought has hit us again,” adds Singh.

“When there is insufficient rain, it forces us to look for hay, silage and grass in farther districts than ours. We travel distance of more than 200km to look for food for our cattle.”

He added that because of formation of new villages, there has been a population increase in Tharparkar. As a result, both humans and animals compete for same resources – a difficult situation.

Bahar-o-Mal, a welfare worker and meteorologist says constant drought in Tharparkar over the years has lowered the underground water level, leaving the land barren.

“The water table has subsided so low that even after the monsoon season this year, water could not fertile the ground.”

If it doesn’t rain anymore in the continuing year, there may be famine.

“Growth of seasonal vegetables is not possible now,” he says.

According to Sukaar Foundation’s survey on the percentages of food and water shortage in Thar, less than 72 percent of the people have adequate food saved up for one day, while only 19 percent have the resources to buy food for a week. Only 9 percent of the district’s population can afford to buy food for a month from their savings.

Similarly, the survey says, 63 percent of the people borrow money from friends, family, and feudal lords to keep their households running. Only 25 percent of the people have saved up to provide food for their animals, while 12 percent of them have cash to buy animal fodder from markets.

The foundation also revealed that 11 percent camels, 7 percent of cows, 22 percent of lambs and 9 percent of the district’s goats have expired in recent years due to ill nutrition, drought, harsh weather and lack of resources for medication.

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities”

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Displaying 83 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Ali Kunbher says:

    Really a nice informative article to depict the picture of Thar desert. Better to mention references of the figures for more clarity.

  2. sabi islam says:

    Good wrk n gud luck ..totallyy inforamtiv article.. keep it up

  3. Samar Naqvi says:

    Very informative article that covers almost all the details of the region.Great work !

  4. danish says:

    nice work,

  5. Very nice article I appreciate to write an article on basic issues.

  6. very Nice.good work.keep it up

  7. nice work,topic and detailed information is absolutely marvelous,i must say awareness about this most depraved people of Pakistan is like a jihaaad e akber,nice work bro keep it up

  8. Ali says:

    یہ معاملہ بہت پہلے حکومت سندھ کو سمجھنا چاہیئے تھا
    ۔۔۔کاوش اچھی ہے

  9. Hafsa Farooq says:

    Well done grt work totally informative article and i appreciate your work all the best

  10. Muhammd Hussain says:

    Bhot Ala, Great

  11. Great article bhai keep it up

  12. Bravo 🙂 keep it up,best wishes are with you 🙂

  13. The facts and figures you quoted in your Article help us to understand the actual situation in Tharparkar. I think you did your job with your limited resources very well. We appreciate your hard work at ground levels. God bless you.

  14. Hats off! I hope your piece of writing will help to overcome the scarcity.

  15. Fida Hassan says:

    The choice of topic and statistical data is really good to express grievances of the victims. Kudos to the writer for highlighting those delicate climatic issues.

  16. Barkat Ali says:

    Dear Great Effort keep it up

  17. Asif ali says:

    This is indeed a very serious issue highlighted by hussain. Keep doing good work hussain nagri. Best of luck

  18. good job……….. informative article

  19. Sara says:

    nice Piece, good Initiative,thumbs up,
    we need environmental journalists and blogs for public awareness to protect environment.

  20. wounder work and good piece of information. Keep it up.

  21. Nazakat Ali says:

    Really you addressed all the issues in detail and we need such Journalism to discuss the basic problems.well done Hussain

  22. One more beacon of hope for the poor people of thar desert. This young led tried to awaken the concerned authorities. Keep it up abdul hussain nagri weldone!!!

  23. Sahar Naqvi says:

    Tremendously written article, very informative. It’s is good to see young writers highlighting issues such as water scarcity in That District with such fervor and accurate information. Kudos to The Nature News for publishing it.

  24. Faheem says:

    Need to work a lot on Climate chnage

  25. saraswati says:

    Good Write up (Y) ..

  26. nadia says:

    Thank You for sharing.

  27. Milka Dike says:

    Good write up,go ahead.

  28. Gregorius says:

    an inspiring story. keep it up.

  29. Dini Izzati says:

    No words, Save both inhabitants and environment.

  30. Haider says:

    alarming & Informative article !!!!!!!!!!

  31. Aleem says:

    Your efforts to help us understand the ground realities about Tharparker are commendable. Keep up the good work. Thumbs up.

  32. Sadaf Jaffri says:

    Very informative! Great work!

  33. Rehman Ali says:

    Great Job, Well Done Dude 🙂

  34. Ali Haider says:

    Proud Student, Excellent keep it up

  35. Sadiq Bagoro says:

    Informative article, Alarming actuation

  36. Good approach, nice work

  37. keep highlight climate issues its now becoming scary.

  38. Waseen Kazmi says:

    Good Job.
    informative & Impressive work.

  39. Rubab says:

    Very Informative article and also alarming !

  40. Batool says:

    nice work, your piece will help us to understand the issues of water scarcity, food insecurity in Tharparkar

  41. Baade shimal says:

    keep it up, nice piece

  42. Asif Haider says:

    well-don great work.

  43. nice job, appreciate your efforts.

  44. nice job, appreciate your efforts

  45. Farooqi says:

    you wrote an informative article on an alarming issue! Well done!

  46. Farooqi says:

    you wrote an informative article on an alarming issue! Well done!!

  47. Afsana says:

    Nice effort. may I use this information in development economics course essay?

  48. Good piece. our country needs such writers who have guts to write the truths and help us know about the ground realities of such underdeveloped areas.

  49. Arif says:

    Excellent keep it up..

  50. Rajba says:

    Nice story..
    Great work

  51. sahzad says:

    Informative article.

  52. Eram says:

    Now its time to discuss and highlight Environmental issues.
    good write up (y)

  53. ayesha says:

    Good Job and good article.

  54. wajeeha says:

    eye-opening article for me about tharparkar and climate problems deserts of Pakistan.

  55. uzma janjua says:

    dangerous and alarming issue you have chosen ! Well done!

  56. Dr Uzma says:

    Excellent Work, keep it up boy 🙂

  57. Aqsa Zareen says:

    finally Good piece dear

  58. SHAH ABBAS says:

    Mountain boy Rocks in Thar Desert 🙂

  59. Hamid Nagri says:

    Interesting and alarming Blog, keep it up

  60. Well don, doing well keep it up Hussain

  61. Ishfaq Afzal says:

    Good Job, great effort

  62. Finally you become Environmental Journalist, Thumbs Up boy (y)

  63. Fahim says:

    Important issue, good Job

  64. Saira says:

    Informative and Alarming Information for me about thar.

  65. Good piece of writing,water management issues if not catered to,will end up creating big problems in coming years ,in wake of urban climate change and global warming

    Nice effort hussain! Keep it up

  66. Sost Today says:

    Wonderful story sir .

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