Save water for the next generation is becoming a slogan and no one imagine a day without water.
Water is a blessing of Almighty Allah. It is an important component for all the living organisms. Every organ in our body needs water for functioning. People can survive many days without food but cannot live without water even a single day. Life on earth is impossible without water and possibility of life is only sure if there is water in large quantity.
Pakistan is the country, which is also facing the scarcity of water and this scarcity of water is becoming a major issue in present and onward. International Monitory Fund (IMF) reported that Pakistan ranks on third position facing scarcity of water worldwide.
The problematic factors of water shortages are rapid growing population, providing food all the folks, less number of dams for storing of water, old and unmanaged methods of canal system and improper use of irrigation. These all issues are common in the country, however Pakistan’s largest province Balochistan also facing same kind of issues which comes in arid and semi-arid regions and has much rangeland areas, lies in the zone of severe drought where people are deprived of safe drinking water. The scarcity of water is in alarming situation in Balochistan and that is likely to suffer a shortage of water in upcoming days.
More than 58 percent agricultural lands are uncultivated because of water scarcity. Farmers and other folks whose daily needs are fulfilled by agriculture suffer many problems and losses due to shortage of water, because mostly people of this province fulfill their needs of water for drinking purpose, domestic usage and irrigating agriculture farms by precipitation.
In present, water table is going down more than a meter every year due to minimum precipitation, mismanagement of rain water and over pumping of Tube wells. Because of mismanagement rain water goes back to Arabian Sea without utilizing and getting benefits from it by folks. Tube wells are installed to nearer distance and uplifting of discharged water is more than human needs. However, the distance in between two tube wells should be 250 meters away. The numbers of tube wells are increasing day by day and currently solar tube wells are being installed instead of electric tube wells. Solar tube wells are in the reach of common people and people mostly prefer them. These tube wells are run beyond definite time by masses that results more wastage of water and decreasing water table.
Water management plays an important role in the development of agriculture and the use of rain water for the agriculture purpose by farmers may reduce the operating cost and if it stored properly, could provide a sustainable irrigation system. The technique to save rain water (precipitation) in reservoir tanks, bunds, dams and check dams and utilize this storage water for further agriculture irrigation, domestic and drinking purpose is known as water harvesting. The purpose of water harvesting is to conserve rain water for agriculture fields to irrigate farms and recharge ground water to increase water table.
In mountainous areas of Balochistan, farmers catch rain water by rod kohi system to utilize it for their agriculture fields and drinking purpose. Rod kohi is a system of irrigation in which water runoff from mountains in the form of floods and then distributed in channels to irrigate agriculture fields. Farmers directly supply water to their fields by creating channels and give a slope towards agriculture fields to fulfill the requirements of water. If the velocity of water could not be controlled then rain water exposes and degrades the soil surface by water erosion where organic matters are present in large quantity.
By runoff of water organic matter eroded from one place to other and this process is known as erosion. If the flow of rain water controlled in the basin area, a huge part of rain water infiltrates and stored in the root zone for the use of plants and if it is not controlled, saved and utilized for agriculture and drinking purpose, it goes back to the Arabian Sea, which is a big loss of rain water.
Saving rain water outcomes include increasing agriculture productivity, control soil erosion, discharge water table, rangeland vegetation and fulfillment of water needs. For all these measures, better management of rain water should be the first priority. The construction of dams and different agriculture practices, such as tillage operations, plantation of trees in mountainous and range land areas, covering of fallow lands by vegetation may decrease the surface runoff and increase water holding capacity of soil and also conserve rain water.
Trees and small bunds decrease the flow of rain water and save soil erosion, water logging and salinity. Dams and small bunds may provide habitat for animals and birds, where people can enjoy fishing and hunting and also fulfill their needs of water. Construction of reservoirs (dams) is the best solution to save rain water, it saves rain water from wastage and discharges the water table. By discharging water table, tube wells can easily run pump more water to fulfill the requirements of local people. Awareness programs about saving rain water should be setup in schools, colleges, and message must be disseminated through print media and electronic media and government should play the key role to save rain water by constructing dams in large quantity. Otherwise rain water will turn to be a constraint instead of a blessing.
Authors: Muhammad Ilyas, Dr. Imran Khan, Muhammad Zain and Bismillah Khan