Looming water crisis

Letter July 06, 2020
The tail-end districts of Sindh such as Badin, Thatta and Sujawal are suffering from acute water shortage

The tail-end districts of Sindh such as Badin, Thatta and Sujawal are suffering from acute water shortage. For decades this snag has been denting the economic life of citizens in these remote areas of Sindh as the majority of the population here solely depends on agriculture as their source of livelihood.

Around 7 million acres of land has been left uncultivated due to this ongoing affliction, which seems to have no end. Water flows towards these districts via the Phuleli Canal, but on the way it is diverted towards the lands and fishing ponds of influential figures of the area. As a result, poor peasants, growers and farmers have to face starvation due to the destruction of their agricultural crops. Sugarcane and wheat, the two major crops sown in these areas, need a significant quantity of water to harvest, but because of inadequate and untimely supply of water these crops get dried up. According to a survey, sugarcane does not survive without water for more than a month.

A large number of animals have died as a result of the water crisis as well. Moreover because these areas are a part of the coastal belt, scarcity of water had led to the problem of saltwater intrusion. In many different areas, sea water has eroded huge pockets of land which becomes another menacing task for the farmers to deal with. Furthermore, in the wake of Water Accord 1992, about 10,000 cusecs of water were to be released for the area Kotri but rarely any water has reached since then.

It is incumbent upon the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to release the due share of water to Sindh, while authorities in Sindh ensure a fair supply to these tail-end areas so as to deter the any upcoming crisis. On many occasions growers have staged protests and marches to try and end this ordeal but the higher authorities are utterly ignorant about the issue.

Kamran Khamiso Khowaja and Ayaz Lashari

Sujawal and MirpurSakro

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2020.

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