Yawning need for rainwater harvesting

Water shortage – both portable and irrigation – in Pakistan is getting critical with every passing day mainly due to the negative impacts of climate change and subsequent rise in whether temperature. Water flows in rivers are constantly on the decline while storage capacity of water reservoirs is shrinking leaving less water availability for irrigation human usage. If this situation persists in the country, which heavily depends on agriculture sector for survival, would face food security issue in near future. Since most regions across the globe suffer water shortage, various rain water conservation methods like groundwater exploration, aquifer recharge technique, water conservation and rainwater harvesting have been developed. Rainwater harvesting has emerged the only method to control flooding and conserve water for multiple purposes. India has made it mandatory for all new structures in big cities to have provision for rain water harvesting. Estimates suggest that 60 per cent of the world population would be urbanized by 2025. Reduced water supplies subsequently would place additional stress on people, agriculture and environment and could spark conflicts. Improved water resource management, however, can help reduce vulnerabilities. Rainwater harvesting is a technology used to collect, convey and store rain from relatively clean surfaces such as a roof, land surface or rock catchments for later use. This technique can provide water for human consumption, reduce water bills and lessen the needs to build reservoirs, which may require the use of valuable land. Pakistans Potohar Plateau including Chakwal, Jhelum, Attock and Rawalpindi districts of Punjab province, covers an area of 2.2 million hectares and receives as much as 70 per cent of its precipitation in just the monsoon season. The rainwater harvesting can be a cheap, safe and sustained way of water supply throughout the year. It has been observed that farmers hardly adopt news agriculture techniques and remain stuck to the conventional methods, which are not workable in the modern day needs. The adverse impacts of climate change could exacerbate the crisis in the country on the verge of being classified as water scarce with per capita water availability falling to 1,000 cubic metres. This method also helps raise the groundwater table from 450 feet to 200 feet in rural areas. Rainwater harvesting is a relatively new and innovative concept for many farmers in the country, however, the farmers community could be sensitized about the benefits of this technique. The government needs to come up with feasible rainwater harvesting programmes for arid areas of the country, otherwise, growing water stress has the potential to turn the situation into a catastrophe.

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