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Pakistan pins big hopes on small dams to help farmers beat drought

ghazi52

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Pakistan pins big hopes on small dams to help farmers beat drought

Experts warn small dams are not a silver bullet for arid parts


Reuters
January 25, 2021





ISLAMABAD: For years, Nangji Mal struggled to scrape together a living growing pulses and pearl millet on his farm in Nagarparkar, a desert area in Sindh. But these days his land is lush and fertile, after the government constructed new water-harvesting dams nearby.
Using irrigation water from one of the small dams,

Mal is growing onions, wheat and other crops on his 40-acre (16-ha) plot and says he has seen his income increase more than 60 per cent. “It had never occurred to me that I might be able, in my lifetime, to earn a handsome amount from my fields, but this reservoir has made it all possible,” Mal, 59, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Pakistan, a nation of about 220 million people, faces increasing water scarcity driven by worsening climate-related drought and an agriculture industry that is pushing itself to meet the demands of a growing population, say water experts. Less than 20% of the water the country’s farmers use for irrigation is captured rainwater, with most coming from ground and surface water, according to a paper published in 2020 by a group of agricultural and environmental researchers.

The Sindh provincial government hopes the new rainwater harvesting dams will not only provide farmers with a reliable water supply but also help recharge groundwater levels, as some of the water from the dams sinks into the earth, said Murtaza Wahab, environment adviser to the Sindh chief minister.

Since construction started six years ago, the provincial government has built 60 small rainwater-fed dams – each with an average storage capacity of 100,000 gallons – in Nagarparkar and Kohistan, Wahab added. The plan is to build at least 23 more in the next two or three years, he said. Wahab noted that because those areas have such scattered populations, there are no reliable figures on how many people are benefiting from the new dams.

Mal said the dam in his area has transformed his farm, as he can now use water from it year-round to irrigate his crops. In Tharparkar, the district where Mal’s farm is located, the average annual rainfall can be as low as 9mm (0.35 inches) and the area frequently experiences drought, according to international charity WaterAid.

“(Before) my farming was on a very small scale, really not enough to meet my expenses, as it was all dependent on only rainwater throughout the year,” the farmer said.

Better livelihoods

The State Bank of Pakistan noted in its annual report for 2016-17 that the country’s water supply was both limited and erratic, while demand was rising rapidly due to a growing population and increasing urbanisation.

“The resulting imbalance is pushing the country towards severe water shortage,” the report stated. According to its latest economic survey, Pakistan had about 94 million acre feet of surface water available for agriculture during the financial year 2019-20 – a nearly 10% shortfall compared to how much the sector uses on average every year.

Wahab, the government adviser, said the small dams had been a boon to the farmers using them, noting that last year Nagarparkar onion farmers reported a total yield worth Rs600 million ($3.75 million), a record for Sindh.


“The dams have a long-term benefit for the local population, because when abundant water is available in these water-scarce areas, people will bring more barren land under cultivation and the number of their livestock will start increasing,” he said.

Besides the Sindh government’s project, the federal government has also allocated Rs20.4 billion to build more than 500 small dams across the country, said Ghazala Channar, deputy chief of water resources in the planning ministry.

The new reservoirs will help mitigate floods, ease poverty and develop agriculture, as well as increasing the water table and providing clean drinking water, she added. “Access to more water will boost the agricultural economy... and thus provide more jobs to people, not only in the sector but also in all areas that are directly or indirectly linked with farming,” she said. Careful use

Water experts warn, however, that small dams are not a silver bullet for arid parts of the country. Daanish Mustafa, professor of critical geography at King’s College London, said using small dams to recharge groundwater supplies only works in freshwater zones.

The rainwater caught by the dams is not much use in topping up the water table in areas like Sindh, where 80% of the underground water supply is saline, he explained. Instead, Mustafa said, the provincial and federal governments should stop subsidising the electricity commercial farms use to run large tube-wells, which are a major cause of depleting underground water levels.

The authorities also need to help farmers adapt to the water supply they have now, he said, adding that those in drought-prone areas should learn to grow less thirsty crops. The cultivation of rice and sugarcane, which need more water, should be discouraged in Sindh, he added.

Mal agreed that he and the thousands of other farmers in his area who use the small dams still need to be careful with how much water they use. Yet despite criticisms of the project, finally having a reliable water source has changed his life, he said.
“I am no more an unlucky person, because I’m earning enough from my fields to make ends meet,” he said.




 

fitpOsitive

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Cut Sindhis water 50%. Why punjab and kpk are even giving Sindh full water. Those opposed dams, and they should face the reality now.
 

ghazi52

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Small dams, a harbinger of resolving Pakistan’s water woes



PESHAWAR: Known as the home of longest River Indus (3180km) in Asia, Pakistan is a unique country with plenty of small and big rivers gifted with natural sites for construction of more dams to address the longstanding water woes of the country.

The country has more than 24 big and small rivers including five in Punjab, four in Sindh, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and seven in Balochistan had numerous suitable natural sites for construction of small, medium and big dams to fulfill the growing water needs of the people.

Pakistan is also the home of rivers Chanab, Jhelum, Ravi, Sutlaj and Beas in Punjab, Kabul, Swat, Punjkora, Kunhar, Bara, Kurram, Haroo, Gomal, Chitral in KP, Nari, Bolan, Pishin, Lara, Mula, Hub, Zhob, Porali, Hangol, Rakshan, Dasht in Balochistan and four rivers in Sindh province.

The effective utilization of its water for agriculture, electricity generation and fish farming will make the country economically prosperous.

These rivers are endowed with a number of potential sites at Diamir Bhasa, Dasu Kohistan, Kalabagh on River Sindh, Mohamad and Kalam on River Swat, Shalman Khyber on River Kabul, Tangi on River Kurram in North Waziristan, Kaghan-Naran on River Kunhar for construction of water reservoirs.

Despite having enormous water potential, Pakistan is gradually moving towards water-scared country where most of living creatures including humans, animals, plants, wildlife, mammals and reptiles are facing the looming threats of water scarcity.

The National Water Policy (NWP) 2018 has revealed that Pakistan was heading towards a situation of water shortage due to lack of water reservoirs, which may lead to food insecurity for all living creatures by 2025.
The policy disclosed that per capita surface water availability has significantly declined from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016.

This quantity is likely to further drop to 860 cubic meters by 2025, marking Pakistan’s transition from a water stressed country to a water scarce country.

The groundwater situation is expected to further drop in the country mostly in Punjab and Sindh where one million tube-wells are currently pumping about 55 million acres feet (MAF) of underground water for irrigation, which is 20pc more than that available from canals.

Talking to APP, former Ambassador of Pakistan Manzoorul Haq said, “the policy’s findings are alarming. We need to swiftly shift our approach from construction of big dams to small dams that can prove harbinger of self-sufficiency in food and increasing exports of agro-based industries.”

He said water resources were inextricably linked with climate and the impending climate change scenario has posed serious implications for Pakistan’s water resources.

The changing and unpredictable precipitation patterns may have serious consequences, including flash floods in north and increasingly prolonged droughts in the south, he added.
Manzoorul Haq said that the glaciers retreat, more glacial lakes will form, increasing the risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) that is already becoming increasingly common and hazardous in northern parts of the country.
The small dams are only remedy to store flood and rainy water mostly in arid areas like Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Kohat, DI Khan, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Bahawalpur, Multan, Tharparkar besides merged areas of erstwhile Fata to bring maximum dry land under cultivation and minimize impact of natural disasters, he said.

Economist and Water expert, Sumbul Riaz said that Pakistan receives around 142MAF water annually through western rivers of which 104MAF used for irrigation purposes.

Similarly, approximately 40MAF water is obtained from normal rainfall and 40pc through underground water per year, she added.

Sumbul Riaz said currently Pakistan has a storage capacity of only 30 days for water, India has 90 days while as per international standard, and the safe period for water storage is 130 days.

She said Pakistan was the only country with diversity in weather, rainfalls, landscape, forests, climate, and mountains with capacity to construct 1000 small dams.

Former Chairman Wapda Shamsul Mulk said small dams are a backbone of agriculture in developing countries like Pakistan and we can achieve self-sufficiency in food through establishing a network of small dams.

He said 46,000 dams have been constructed worldwide whereas China has built 22,000 dams and India 4,500 dams.

Mulk said small dams were being preferred mostly in developing countries like SAARC for irrigation of agriculture and drinking water because it is cost & time efficient and do not require foreign investment compare to big dams, adding small dams can easily be constructed in two to three years while big dams mostly require 10 to 15 years.

Mujahid Saeed, Director General Small Dams Irrigation Department said feasibility studies and designs of 26 small dams having 166,282 cultivable command area and 555,103 acres feet storage capacity, has been either completed or practical work in progress in different districts of KP.
 

TheSnakeEatingMarkhur

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Pakistan pins big hopes on small dams to help farmers beat drought

Experts warn small dams are not a silver bullet for arid parts


Reuters
January 25, 2021





ISLAMABAD: For years, Nangji Mal struggled to scrape together a living growing pulses and pearl millet on his farm in Nagarparkar, a desert area in Sindh. But these days his land is lush and fertile, after the government constructed new water-harvesting dams nearby.
Using irrigation water from one of the small dams,

Mal is growing onions, wheat and other crops on his 40-acre (16-ha) plot and says he has seen his income increase more than 60 per cent. “It had never occurred to me that I might be able, in my lifetime, to earn a handsome amount from my fields, but this reservoir has made it all possible,” Mal, 59, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Pakistan, a nation of about 220 million people, faces increasing water scarcity driven by worsening climate-related drought and an agriculture industry that is pushing itself to meet the demands of a growing population, say water experts. Less than 20% of the water the country’s farmers use for irrigation is captured rainwater, with most coming from ground and surface water, according to a paper published in 2020 by a group of agricultural and environmental researchers.

The Sindh provincial government hopes the new rainwater harvesting dams will not only provide farmers with a reliable water supply but also help recharge groundwater levels, as some of the water from the dams sinks into the earth, said Murtaza Wahab, environment adviser to the Sindh chief minister.

Since construction started six years ago, the provincial government has built 60 small rainwater-fed dams – each with an average storage capacity of 100,000 gallons – in Nagarparkar and Kohistan, Wahab added. The plan is to build at least 23 more in the next two or three years, he said. Wahab noted that because those areas have such scattered populations, there are no reliable figures on how many people are benefiting from the new dams.

Mal said the dam in his area has transformed his farm, as he can now use water from it year-round to irrigate his crops. In Tharparkar, the district where Mal’s farm is located, the average annual rainfall can be as low as 9mm (0.35 inches) and the area frequently experiences drought, according to international charity WaterAid.

“(Before) my farming was on a very small scale, really not enough to meet my expenses, as it was all dependent on only rainwater throughout the year,” the farmer said.

Better livelihoods

The State Bank of Pakistan noted in its annual report for 2016-17 that the country’s water supply was both limited and erratic, while demand was rising rapidly due to a growing population and increasing urbanisation.

“The resulting imbalance is pushing the country towards severe water shortage,” the report stated. According to its latest economic survey, Pakistan had about 94 million acre feet of surface water available for agriculture during the financial year 2019-20 – a nearly 10% shortfall compared to how much the sector uses on average every year.

Wahab, the government adviser, said the small dams had been a boon to the farmers using them, noting that last year Nagarparkar onion farmers reported a total yield worth Rs600 million ($3.75 million), a record for Sindh.


“The dams have a long-term benefit for the local population, because when abundant water is available in these water-scarce areas, people will bring more barren land under cultivation and the number of their livestock will start increasing,” he said.

Besides the Sindh government’s project, the federal government has also allocated Rs20.4 billion to build more than 500 small dams across the country, said Ghazala Channar, deputy chief of water resources in the planning ministry.

The new reservoirs will help mitigate floods, ease poverty and develop agriculture, as well as increasing the water table and providing clean drinking water, she added. “Access to more water will boost the agricultural economy... and thus provide more jobs to people, not only in the sector but also in all areas that are directly or indirectly linked with farming,” she said. Careful use

Water experts warn, however, that small dams are not a silver bullet for arid parts of the country. Daanish Mustafa, professor of critical geography at King’s College London, said using small dams to recharge groundwater supplies only works in freshwater zones.

The rainwater caught by the dams is not much use in topping up the water table in areas like Sindh, where 80% of the underground water supply is saline, he explained. Instead, Mustafa said, the provincial and federal governments should stop subsidising the electricity commercial farms use to run large tube-wells, which are a major cause of depleting underground water levels.

The authorities also need to help farmers adapt to the water supply they have now, he said, adding that those in drought-prone areas should learn to grow less thirsty crops. The cultivation of rice and sugarcane, which need more water, should be discouraged in Sindh, he added.

Mal agreed that he and the thousands of other farmers in his area who use the small dams still need to be careful with how much water they use. Yet despite criticisms of the project, finally having a reliable water source has changed his life, he said.
“I am no more an unlucky person, because I’m earning enough from my fields to make ends meet,” he said.




Drip irrigation and tech should also be used by farmers.. Hydroponics and Aquaponics are the future of farming
 

FuturePAF

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Drip irrigation and tech should also be used by farmers.. Hydroponics and Aquaponics are the future of farming
I was just about to post that. We need to move away from wasteful uses of the millions of acres of water the country is blessed with, as well as invest in cleaning up/treating waste water so it is safe for irrigation if not drinking (because we all know waste water will get dumped back into rivers)

the danger of water wars, after the Nile is most likely between Pakistan and India, but at least in our casewe need to firstly properly manage the water already have coming in to prove our case.

this should be an opportunity to galvinazie the nation to conserve where possible and help replenish the ground water. Ground water extraction needs to be monitored and small dams and reservoirs are badly needed, along with the larger dams and reservoirs outlined in the “Pakistan flood control system”.
 
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ghazi52

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Spate irrigation prospects in Pakistan

khuram mubeen


Assistant Professor Agronomy MNS University of Agriculture Multan

On an average 9% of the irrigated area of Pakistan is under the system of hill ********. Though there is a potential of increasing the area under spate irrigation up to 34%.






Floods are often considered as havoc. However, the other side of coin has seldom been accounted for in a positive context. Rain water from dry mountains can be a potential source for irrigating low lying fields, and getting a reasonable crop production.

Floods in plains through rise in level of river flow and floods originating from mountainous areas (Hill ******** / Rod Kohi) differ from each other. The floods from rivers builds gradually, has a long lasting impact and recedes even more slowly.

On the other hand, hill ******** from mountains are transient (usually up to 10 hours) and appear shortly after rains. Speed of water flow is very high as compared to floods of rivers in plains.

What is spate irrigation?

The irrigation technique that diverts flood water from dry mountainous area by gravity through regulatory structures for crop cultivation in low lying farmland is referred to as spate irrigation. This irrigation system is a distinct feature of arid and semi-arid regions bordered by highlands.

There are two systems of management in hill torrent areas:

  1. Upland rod kohi areas. Here check dams are built to create obstacles in the movement of speedy water. It aids in reducing losses to soil erosion. Contouring, terracing is practiced and mini dams are also constructed. Medium reservoirs can also be built where feasible.
  2. Lowland rod kohi areas: In such areas regulatory structures, diversion bunds, headworks, field inlets and field outlets can be constructed. For smooth flow of water and to avoid erosion, water can be conveyed through an array of channels like stone masonry lined channels, closed channels, parabolic lined channels, plastic sheet lined channels and open channels etc. A well planned channelization of the water from river bed at the take-off point will make the most use of the area with better coverage and spread of water with effective groundwater recharge.
On an average, currently 9% of the irrigated area of Pakistan is under the system of hill ********. Though there is a potential of increasing the area under spate irrigation up to 34%. About 1.4 to 2.34 million hectare area is under spate irrigated agriculture. Nevertheless, the potential area is approximately 7 million hectares.


Following three aspects must be inculcated to harvest the benefits from hill ********

  1. Building regulatory structures
  2. Canal maintenance and repair system
  3. Management of commanded area of the hill ********

Essential aspects to harness hill ********

Building dams, mini dams, headworks, regulatory structures etc. is the major responsibility of engineering authorities whereas command area management is a diverse subject involving multiple stakeholders. The bund repair and maintenance in such areas is of utmost importance.

In some areas, there is penalty on farmers who do not take care of repairing and maintaining bunds on annual and sometime on seasonal basis. Moisture conservation can be enhanced by ploughing, surface mulching, strip cropping, and growing cover crops like legumes etc.

Pakistan’s scenario

Pakistan has the largest area in the world under spate irrigation with maximum area being in Balochistan. In Punjab, this sort of irrigation is practiced in districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur and parts of Mianwali. There are 13 major hill ******** besides many minor ******** locally called “chur”.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spate irrigation is practiced in Dera Ismail Khan and parts of Lakki Marwat and Kohat. In Sindh, it is mostly practiced in the northwestern Kirthar range along Dadu, Jamshoro and reaching up to part of Karachi district. There are 25 hill torrent systems in Sindh. Balochistan has 44% area of the country by geography.

However, only 13% area of Balochistan is irrigated. There are 19 major spate irrigation systems in Balochistan.
Government through irrigation department has established hand pumps for drinking water in some villages but still in many areas the human and animals drink water from the ponds or from water collected in depressions made by soil transportation and erosion.

Water rights are not followed in their true essence in most of the spate irrigated areas. If in dry years, a small volume of water is received through rainfall, the farmers at upstream have the rights to use it. But as a malpractice, influential people and those at upstream divert the water flow during wet years to their lands which results in non-availability or very limited water availability to farmers at tail of the command area.


Traditionally, at field level, tactical breaching of field bunds is done for field to field irrigation. However, it damages the bunds sometimes besides several other adverse ecological and social impacts.


Field management

On field management include selection of suitable crop and cultivars which require less water till maturity and can withstand dry spells and hot weather in summer. Sorghum and millets can be successfully grown and seeds of these crops are threshed at harvest for future use while their stalks can be dried for hay to feed livestock.

Mulching, tillage, strip cropping, using leguminous crops in the cropping system improves soil conditions and soil moisture holding capacity. Millet, cluster bean and mungbean is used in different areas in summer. In winter season chickpea, rapeseeds, mustards and wheat are mostly grown in different areas.

Dug well irrigation is also in practice in some areas like Mithawan hill torrent command area.
As the farmers do not use external inputs in subsistence farming; therefore, the returns from the field crops are also marginal.


Problem solution
  • There is a need to build a database of spate irrigation in the country. Currently, there is very little academic research regarding key aspects of spate irrigation. Wherever feasible, spate irrigation should be augmented with judicious groundwater use.
  • Improvement in indigenous vegetables, trees and fodder should be included in research program for improving the intended benefits. In most of the areas as the produce from the fields are obtained without using any chemical, there is a huge potential for developing commodity specific organic markets.
  • Thal and Cholistan Development Authorities, rod kohi development authorities on at least province level should be initially established having experts from disciplines of agriculture, livestock, health, forestry and education etc. There should be concrete efforts for promoting the focus on fodder, pulses, oilseeds and wheat etc. using available water supply.



Scientific solutions

  • Research should be focused on breeding crop cultivars that can extract water from deeper soil depths.
    Creating awareness and coordination among all the society groups is need of the time. On farm water management through active involvement of irrigation, engineering, conservation, agriculture and extension departments etc. can bring a significant change.
  • Research should also be focused on developing drought tolerant fruit plants like Beri and Dates. There is potential of planting more forest trees in spate irrigated areas. This will also reduce the soil erosion and avoid negative consequences of climate change besides other benefits.
  • Low cost drinking water technologies for humans and livestock consumption should be taken into account on priority basis. As the area is drought prone with water scarcity, hence growing crops through high efficiency irrigation systems like drip irrigation can bring fruitful results where applicable.
  • Engineering and agricultural faculties of universities should incorporate spate irrigation curriculum for capacity building and preparing scientific brains in future perspective. It is of utmost importance to include spate irrigated area into national development plan.
An integrated approach unveiling all these aspects will definitely promise uplift in the socio-economic lives of poorest of the poor farmers in country.




I was just about to post that. We need to move away from wasteful uses of the millions of acres of water the country is blessed with, as well as invest in cleaning up/treating waste water so it is safe for irrigation if not drinking (because we all know waste water will get dumped back into rivers)

the danger of water wars, after the Nile is most likely between Pakistan and India, but at least in our case if we need to firstly properly manage the water already have coming in to prove our case.

this should be an opportunity to galvinazie the nation to conserve where possible and help replenish the ground water. Ground water extraction needs to be monitored and small dams and reservoirs are badly needed.
 

ghazi52

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"Sailaba" or Hill-Torrent Spate Irrigation Systems (Kharan, Balochistan)
Design Considerations of other Irrigation Systems do not apply to this system. It involves a high degree of understanding of flash floods and its management to improve agricultural yields.



1611622047851.png
 

MastanKhan

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Small dams, a harbinger of resolving Pakistan’s water woes



PESHAWAR: Known as the home of longest River Indus (3180km) in Asia, Pakistan is a unique country with plenty of small and big rivers gifted with natural sites for construction of more dams to address the longstanding water woes of the country.

The country has more than 24 big and small rivers including five in Punjab, four in Sindh, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and seven in Balochistan had numerous suitable natural sites for construction of small, medium and big dams to fulfill the growing water needs of the people.

Pakistan is also the home of rivers Chanab, Jhelum, Ravi, Sutlaj and Beas in Punjab, Kabul, Swat, Punjkora, Kunhar, Bara, Kurram, Haroo, Gomal, Chitral in KP, Nari, Bolan, Pishin, Lara, Mula, Hub, Zhob, Porali, Hangol, Rakshan, Dasht in Balochistan and four rivers in Sindh province.

The effective utilization of its water for agriculture, electricity generation and fish farming will make the country economically prosperous.

These rivers are endowed with a number of potential sites at Diamir Bhasa, Dasu Kohistan, Kalabagh on River Sindh, Mohamad and Kalam on River Swat, Shalman Khyber on River Kabul, Tangi on River Kurram in North Waziristan, Kaghan-Naran on River Kunhar for construction of water reservoirs.

Despite having enormous water potential, Pakistan is gradually moving towards water-scared country where most of living creatures including humans, animals, plants, wildlife, mammals and reptiles are facing the looming threats of water scarcity.

The National Water Policy (NWP) 2018 has revealed that Pakistan was heading towards a situation of water shortage due to lack of water reservoirs, which may lead to food insecurity for all living creatures by 2025.
The policy disclosed that per capita surface water availability has significantly declined from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016.

This quantity is likely to further drop to 860 cubic meters by 2025, marking Pakistan’s transition from a water stressed country to a water scarce country.

The groundwater situation is expected to further drop in the country mostly in Punjab and Sindh where one million tube-wells are currently pumping about 55 million acres feet (MAF) of underground water for irrigation, which is 20pc more than that available from canals.

Talking to APP, former Ambassador of Pakistan Manzoorul Haq said, “the policy’s findings are alarming. We need to swiftly shift our approach from construction of big dams to small dams that can prove harbinger of self-sufficiency in food and increasing exports of agro-based industries.”

He said water resources were inextricably linked with climate and the impending climate change scenario has posed serious implications for Pakistan’s water resources.

The changing and unpredictable precipitation patterns may have serious consequences, including flash floods in north and increasingly prolonged droughts in the south, he added.
Manzoorul Haq said that the glaciers retreat, more glacial lakes will form, increasing the risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) that is already becoming increasingly common and hazardous in northern parts of the country.
The small dams are only remedy to store flood and rainy water mostly in arid areas like Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Kohat, DI Khan, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Bahawalpur, Multan, Tharparkar besides merged areas of erstwhile Fata to bring maximum dry land under cultivation and minimize impact of natural disasters, he said.

Economist and Water expert, Sumbul Riaz said that Pakistan receives around 142MAF water annually through western rivers of which 104MAF used for irrigation purposes.

Similarly, approximately 40MAF water is obtained from normal rainfall and 40pc through underground water per year, she added.

Sumbul Riaz said currently Pakistan has a storage capacity of only 30 days for water, India has 90 days while as per international standard, and the safe period for water storage is 130 days.

She said Pakistan was the only country with diversity in weather, rainfalls, landscape, forests, climate, and mountains with capacity to construct 1000 small dams.

Former Chairman Wapda Shamsul Mulk said small dams are a backbone of agriculture in developing countries like Pakistan and we can achieve self-sufficiency in food through establishing a network of small dams.

He said 46,000 dams have been constructed worldwide whereas China has built 22,000 dams and India 4,500 dams.

Mulk said small dams were being preferred mostly in developing countries like SAARC for irrigation of agriculture and drinking water because it is cost & time efficient and do not require foreign investment compare to big dams, adding small dams can easily be constructed in two to three years while big dams mostly require 10 to 15 years.

Mujahid Saeed, Director General Small Dams Irrigation Department said feasibility studies and designs of 26 small dams having 166,282 cultivable command area and 555,103 acres feet storage capacity, has been either completed or practical work in progress in different districts of KP.
Hi,

My father had made two suggestions to powers to be in the 70's---small dams and multiple smaller sized steels mills---oh well.
 
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Mentee

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People who pay zakaat don't face any water scarcity let alone a drought ------. Never play with The Lord Almighty by also adding the amount previously spent for charity at the end of the day
 

ghazi52

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Small rainwater dams praised as a boon for farmers in Sindh


Reuters
January 26, 202




Pakistan, a nation of about 220 million people, faces increasing water scarcity. — Photo courtesy Rizwan Safdar/File



Pakistan, a nation of about 220 million people, faces increasing water scarcity.


ISLAMABAD: For years, Nangi Mal struggled to scrape together a living growing pulses and pearl millet on his farm in Nagarparkar, a desert area in Sindh.

But these days his land is lush and fertile, after the government constructed new water-harvesting dams nearby.

Using irrigation water from one of the small dams, Mal is growing onions, wheat and other crops on his 40-acre plot and says he has seen his income increase more than 60 per cent.

“It had never occurred to me that I might be able, in my lifetime, to earn a handsome amount from my fields, but this reservoir has made it all possible,” said Mal, 59.

Pakistan, a nation of about 220 million people, faces increasing water scarcity driven by worsening climate-related drought and an agriculture industry that is pushing itself to meet the demands of a growing population, say water experts.


Govt hopes these dams will also recharge groundwater levels

Less than 20 per cent of the water the country’s farmers use for irrigation is captured rainwater, with most coming from ground and surface water, according to a paper published in 2020 by a group of agricultural and environmental researchers.

The Sindh government hopes the new rainwater harvesting dams will not only provide farmers with a reliable water supply but also help recharge groundwater levels, as some of the water from the dams sinks into the earth, said Murtaza Wahab, environment adviser to the chief minister of Sindh.

Since construction started six years ago, the provincial government has built 60 small rainwater-fed dams —each with an average storage capacity of 100,000 gallons — in the remote drought-hit areas of Nagarparkar and Kohistan, Wahab added.

The plan is to build at least 23 more in the next two or three years, he said.
Wahab noted that because those areas have such scattered populations, there are no reliable figures on how many people are benefiting from the new dams.

Mal said the dam in his area has transformed his farm, as he can now use water from it year-round to irrigate his crops.

In Tharparkar, the district where Mal’s farm is located, the average annual rainfall can be as low as 9mm (0.35 inches) and the area frequently experiences drought, according to international charity WaterAid.

“(Before) my farming was on a very small scale, really not enough to meet my expenses, as it was all dependent on only rainwater throughout the year,” the farmer said.

Better livelihoods

The State Bank of Pakistan noted in its annual report for 2016-17 that the country’s water supply was both limited and erratic, while demand was rising rapidly due to a growing population and increasing urbanisation.

“The resulting imbalance is pushing the country towards severe water shortage,” the report stated.
According to its latest economic survey, Pakistan had about 94 million acre feet of surface water available for agriculture during the financial year 2019-20 — a nearly 10 per cent shortfall compared to how much the sector uses on average every year.

Wahab, the government adviser, said the small dams had been a boon to the farmers using them, noting that last year Nagarparkar onion farmers reported a total yield worth 600 million rupees ($3.75m), a record for Sindh province.

“The dams have a long-term benefit for the local population, because when abundant water is available in these water-scarce areas, people will bring more barren land under cultivation and the number of their livestock will start increasing,” he said.

Besides the Sindh government’s project, the federal government has also allocated Rs20.4 billion to build more than 500 small dams across the country, said Ghazala Channar, deputy chief of water resources in the Ministry of Planning.

The new reservoirs will help mitigate floods, ease poverty and develop agriculture, as well as increasing the water table and providing clean drinking water, she added.

“Access to more water will boost the agricultural economy ... and thus provide more jobs to people, not only in the sector but also in all areas that are directly or indirectly linked with farming,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Careful use

Water experts warn, however, that small dams are not a silver bullet for arid parts of the country.
Daanish Mustafa, professor of critical geography at King’s College, London, said using small dams to recharge groundwater supplies only works in freshwater zones.

The rainwater caught by the dams is not much used in topping up the water table in areas like Sindh, where 80 percent of the underground water supply is saline, he explained.

Instead, Mustafa said, the provincial and federal governments should stop subsidising the electricity commercial farms use to run large tube-wells, which are a major cause of depleting underground water levels.

The authorities also need to help farmers adapt to the water supply they have now, he said, adding that those in drought-prone areas should learn to grow less thirsty crops.

The cultivation of rice and sugarcane, which need more water, should be discouraged in Sindh, he added.
Mal agreed that he and the thousands of other farmers in his area who use the small dams still need to be careful with how much water they use.

Yet despite criticisms of the project, finally having a reliable water source has changed his life, he said.
“I am no more an unlucky person, because I’m earning enough from my fields to make ends meet,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021
 

waz

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Water management the bane of Pakistan. At least the Sind government finally woke up, round of applause.
 

FuturePAF

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We also need to study how to improve the soil through natural means. In some countries drip irrigation is mot only supplying water, but also nitrogen and phosphorus if I remember correctly. They also plant the seeds with mycorrhizal fungus to enhance the roots ability to extract nutrients from the drip irrigation and improve the soil.

This will minimize the water usage in standard farming (non-green house) but needs to be done in conjunction with waste water treatment (we have a serious problem arsenic in the ground water) and ground water replenishment.

so if you think ground water is safe, check the arsenic levels, which may hurt us (immediately when we eat) but also hurt us when we try to export food as “Organic”.

Finally Pakistan should try to find less water intensive species of the same water intensive crops it plants, so it can decrease the water used


 
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