Ponds dry up in Cholistan desert

People, animals trek kilometres for water

Jalaluddin Bhatti May 29, 2024


The Cholistan desert is facing a severe water crisis amidst extreme heat, with over 1,100 ponds drying up and underground water sources turning bitter and toxic.

This has left both people and animals desperate for water, forcing local inhabitants to trek several kilometres on foot to access it.

Local residents have appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz to assess the dire situation firsthand.

The relentless heat, reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius, has compounded the challenges faced by Cholistan's residents. Numerous ponds have dried up across the desert, including in Toba Kamalwali, Tora Wah, Bhanuwala, and Kheen, leaving these areas devoid of water.

The government water supply lines are dilapidated, resulting in suspended water supply and leaving residents and animals thirst-stricken. Moreover, the well water has become bitter and toxic, posing health risks to both humans and animals.

The dwellers of Cholistan have demanded that the authorities immediately restore water supply lines, including Tona Bajnot, and ensure an emergency water supply to the region.

Local people warn that if steps are not taken in the next few days, they will be forced to migrate. The situation has prompted Cholistan Development Authority MD Naeem Bukhari to visit some areas with his team.

According to officials from the Cholistan Development Authority, most of the Cholistani population has already been displaced along with their cattle, while some have moved along the water pipelines that are still being supplied with water.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2024.


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