To encourage rainwater harvesting, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) is implementing a rainwater harvesting pilot project in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), according to a press release issued on Wednesday.
The project will be tested in 20 union councils affected by the 2005 earthquake in K-P and AJK.
Though blessed with surface and ground water resources, various factors have placed immense stress on their quality and quantity. These include rapid growth in population, unplanned urbanisation and unsustainable water consumption practices, said Chairperson Erra Lt Gen. Sardar Mehmood Ali Khan.
He was addressing a seminar on “Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation: “Conserving water is preserving the country” held in connection with the International Water Day.
Speakers discussed management of scarcity of water and exploring avenues for the effective implementation of water conservation strategy. They also highlighted the fact that rainwater harvesting was one of the most important and effective systems of water conservation.
The project aims to instal rainwater harvesting systems on rooftops of 40,000 pakka houses and 400 public buildings including schools, health centres and mosques in 370 villages.
Erra introduced the Rainwater Harvesting Programme, while rebuilding the areas destroyed in the 2005 earthquake in K-P and AJK. The importance of clean water cannot be overemphasized as over 250,000 children die due to waterborne diseases in Pakistan every year.
Khan said a viable national strategy for water conservation can be successful if academicians, civil society, professional educational institutions and media are on board.
The event was organised by the National University of Science and Technology in collaboration with Erra.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2012.