Environment Science & Technology

Rainwater harvesting can help address water woes in Thar

Mithi, Tharparkar: Residents of Morry-je-Wandh village feel relieved of the pain they suffer due to toilsome process of obtaining water from a dugwell.

“Walking for three kilometers and toiling to roll up water from a some 70feet deep dugwell twice a day is full of pain. However, the newly-built rainwater harvesting pond has become a source of relief for us villagers and rid us of the pang we underwent for years,” says Marvi Bheel.

Dugwells are major source of water for over 1.4 million Tharis, most of which have brackish water.

The Sukaar Foundation’s Programme Coordinator, Mukesh Suther, said fetching water from the dugwells is really a troublesome work for the feeble Thari women.

“Women spend average six hours daily for collecting water from the dugwells and walking miles every day to fetch water takes heavy toll on the health of mal-nourished Thari women,” he said.

Mukesh Surther told Pakistan Times that women are predominantly involved in collect water for different uses at their homes for drinking, bathing, cooking to washing cloths and dishes. These women have to carry earthen pitchers on their heads and walk miles for fetching water from distant dugwells.

“When mercury in Tharparkar hovers around 48 to 50 degrees Celsius during scorching summer days, the water level in the dug wells fall as low as 200-250 feet. However, bringing out water from such depth through pulleys that is an strenuous job for the women, particularly when they are pregnant,” he said.

He told Pakistan Times that the Sukaar Foundation Building has realized that constructing ponds of different sizes in villages of the southern desert district for harvesting rainwater hold an immense value for Tharis.

“So far we have built a number of rainwater harvesting ponds in different villages in financial support with the WaterAid Pakistan. Rainwater accumulated in the ponds lasts for nine to 10 months,” he remarked. Water of the most of the dugwells has turned brackish due to reduced rainfalls in the arid area of the Tharparkar. However, the Tharis can have access to sweet potable water available in the ponds, he said.

Sobho Bheel said that there are two dugwells in THE Morry-je-Wandh village, but water of these wells is brackish.

He said: “While previously we had no option for sweet water other than consuming the brackish water of these dugwells, construction of the covered rainwater harvesting pond is now a source of sweet water.”

The villagers are happy on the rainwater harvesting pond constructed by the Sukaar Foundation, he exploded in euphoria.

“The covered rainwater harvesting pond, locally called Choonra, has been constructed at a cost of Rs1,25,000 in financial support by the WaterAid Pakistan. This pond, if fully recharged with the rainwater, will suffice for some eight months for nearly 250 households,” Mukesh Suther explained.

About the author

Saleem Shaikh

The writer is a development journalist. He writes on water, sanitation, environment, climate change, agriculture, women development, human rights, education, health, development budgets and economy.

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