Thursday, 2 July 2009

Not a Drop to Drink!

ISLAMABAD (Online)- Pakistan is fast moving from being a water stressed country to a water scarce country which could put heavy brakes on economic growth and government should accelerate its efforts for setting up new water reservoirs and dams on emergent basis to cope with the looming water crisis.
This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in a statement.

He said according to official reports the per capita availability of water in Pakistan has gradually dwindled from 5,260-cubic metres in 1951 to about 1000-cubic metres in recent years and if this trend continued, it could go as low as 550-cubic metres by 2025, which shows the gravity of the situation.
He said the water shortage issue has not been given the level of attention it needed and cautioned that if appropriate steps are not taken country could face a water & food crisis even worse than the current power crisis.

He said in addition to the urgent construction of new water reservoirs and small dams, government should launch serious water conservation initiatives to improve the efficiency of water use, particularly in agriculture sector,which claims more than 90 percent of the available fresh water resources.
Mian Shaukat said Pakistan can save enough water by adopting latest technology and making a partial shift from lower-value, water-intensive crops to high-value and more water-efficient crops.
He said Pakistan is mostly using flood irrigation in agriculture while it should explore the use of drip or spray irrigation, which makes better and efficient use of water resources.

The report above as well as the photos are in fact obtained from the web, just to help you visualize the looming crisis that we as Pakistanis are about to face in our Motherland!

Scenes like those above have haunted me throughout my life's journey in my Motherland, while growing up while living in various cities and while driving around the length and breadth of Pakistan.
In Sindh, in Baluchistan, in the Frontier and in Punjab, the scenes are virtually the same; I have stop here to narrate a story from a friend who had served in uniform, while posted in the tribal areas of Baluchistan, he actually came across groups of settlements around what one would term a water-hole, straightaway the vision of a shaded pool surrounded by tall shady trees comes to mind, but in fact what was there was a pond of green slime, where every human and animal went for whatever their needs were; drinking, washing, and anything else that may spring to exaggeration!
This friend an officer leading his group of men were camped close by and he directed his jawans to move one of their water tanker trailers, that they tow behind a jeep, to within the settlement's perimeter. He then proceeded to encourage the curious children to take a drink of clear fresh water, but they shied away!! Wanting to know what it was!! when told it was water, their eyes popped open wide in disbelief; he had to drink some to help them grasp the reality, but while doing so the reality he was trying to come to terms with himself was the sight of these adults and children living and growing up around this stagnant stinking slimy green pond that served as their source of the elixir of life!

Later that very same day he was visited by angry disgruntled tribal members who demanded to know what on earth he thought he was trying to do; he tried to pacify them and began to explain his very innocent intentions to help the people to source good clean fresh clean water. While the tribals finally understood his honourable intentions, they demanded that the bowser be immediately withdrawn from their neighborhood, as they had no intentions whatsoever of getting them all used to this water which would only be there while the soldiers were around! "What will happen when you are gone?" they asked, where will we find or get more of it, there is no way we can bring it from wherever you have managed to get it

That was in the early 1070s! the situations have not got any better, in fact memories of water wastege, haunt me now as I observe how we hose down our driveways to remove the sand from the places where our cars are parked, cleaning women thoughtlessly pipe in hand water flowing sweep away car are washed everyday as if they are about to be taken into a mosque! on my road we have 4 such homes where a minimum of 3 cars per household get this pakofying treatment every day!! Can you believe it!??

Not to mention how we wash our faces and brush our teeth, with the water flowing away down the drain, what about the winter time when we open the tap to get hot water we let it flow till it is hot, imagine how much we waste; ever notice how the kitchen help have the tap running all the while when the dishes are being washed? Well, the truth is I too am guilty of all of the above, but, not anymore, changes have been made to conserve the water in our home, so that we save, it for our tomorrows.
Please give this precious resource some serious thought, don’t waste water in your glass while drinking save it for later don’t throw it away, I beseech you, please.

One summer when I was living in the UK, there was a terrible drought, washing cars was banned! I could not stand the sight of my dirty car so on the weekend I collected the soapy water which came out of the washing machine, and took it to wash my car, while another bucket collected the rinse cycle water, bye the time I was finishing I noticed a Bobby (cop) walking up to me and began to question me for having broken the ban! I explained what and how I had done it, he ended up telling me it was a great idea and that he would do likewise! Getting full use of the water that way!
Apparently a neighbour had watched me and alerted the police!

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