Balochistan is facing a parlous drought and fabricated famine as a result of rare rainfall and reducing groundwater levels caused by deep well pumping over the last few decades, particularly in the western Balochistan.
Dr. Ainuddin, chairperson of the Disaster Management Department, University of Balochistan said that Half of Balochistan is gripped by a drought.
He added that areas that are prone to drought are Noshki, Chaghi, Kharan, and Makran with has affected land, water resources, water, wildlife, and plants. Western parts receive even less than 50mm rain from total of176 millimeters in whole province. The issue has not received any attention from federal government or the media leading to drought.
Quetta, provincial capital, has an alarming situation where groundwater level drops by 3 ½ feet every year. Deep tube dug wells are the reason behind this. The number of tube wells in Quetta has 2,200 out of which only 450 are registered. Moreover, government has banned more well digging. Previously Balochistan utilized an ancient system of water supply known as karezaat that have been destroyed or dried with the passage of time.
Specialists believe dams are the only solution to this threat of water shortage.
Bashir Agha, the superintending engineer of the Agriculture Department says, “due to a lack of dams 8.57 billion cubic meters of water is being wasted every year.”
“Population might have to migrate in future if this misuse of water continues,” he warns.
“Climate changes a global phenomenon. It is affecting Balochistan as well. The government of Balochistan has taken measures to overcome drought in the province,” Tariq Zehri, the director general of the Environment Protection Authority in Balochistan claims.
“Two different bodies for evaluation and implementation formed by CM after realizing the seriousness of matter,” Zehri adds.
“Balochistan is the first province to pass the Environment Protection Act in 2012 after the 18th Amendment. To overcome the drought 35 different projects with collaboration of different departments have been initiated,” Ainuddin says.
“Disaster management authorities have become functional at a district level after the 2005 earthquake,” he said. Ainuddin also believes climate change to be the reason for drought as it has put monsoon areas in the grips of drought as well.
He warns that a trend showing can increase the number of natural disasters in the province.
“The center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Gwadar, could potentially face disasters like a tsunami in future,” he said as he predicts unwelcoming future hurt by environmental factors.