“A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.”
Pakistan is facing a serious environmental crisis with a steadily decreasing water-table with a rapidly increasing population. AK’s work in the Environment sector covers a spiritual-academic understanding of the environmental crisis as well as practical implementation of community projects on utilization and conservation of natural resources.
WaterTharparkar Water Crisis
The indigenous peoples of Thar have faced harsh climatic conditions for many years and despite temporary migrations following drought crises, they always return home to the desert, unwilling to give up their land and lifestyle. However, the enduring water crisis continues as water in Thar is brackish and unfit for human consumption. Some organisations help whenever the cyclical drought results in a crisis situation but the help remains short-term – addressing immediate needs of food, water and health-issues. What remains unaddressed are long-term pre-emptive solutions to empower local inhabitants to improve their own lives. Some community organisations work towards rain-water conservation, filtering of well-water and kitchen gardening. At the moment, drinking and cooking water is supplied by tankers which come to a village once a week. The cost of a weekly tanker carrying 10,000 litres of water is Pak Rupees 8,000 (GBP 47). It supplies a village of 500 residents (approx. 50 houses). AK has committed to help with construction of more rain-water conservation tanks and water filters as well as increasing the amount of water that is supplied to villages. Our partner in Tharparkar, PVDP, sent this update on 29th August, 2014 on the drought situation:
“Tharparkar, Sindh, 29th August, 2014: The drought situation is becoming serious. This is going to be the third year of consecutive drought and it will have a serious impact on the lives of the people of Thar. The migration to surrounding canal-irrigated districts (Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot) have already started. We are at this moment very worried about our school children whose parents are thinking to migrate as they are facing food shortages and in some places also water is short. PVDP is thinking to support the parents of school children so that they stay back so that the children can continue their studies. I am strongly advised by my team to divert the relief packages towards the school children so that we can prevent their drop-outs. We may need further support as well to retain the school children in schools during the drought period (at least until Feb-Mar 2015). We are making calculations as to how much support will be needed and will let you know in coming days”. (Dominic Stephen)