The citizens of Gwadar have long been deprived of water because of this they are faced with several difficulties. The situation has further deteriorated due to low levels of rain. In the last few years, many regions of Balochistan have experienced little to no rain. Approximately, 70% of the population of Balochistan has been affected by acute water shortage. Gwadar has been at the forefront of the water crisis. Shortage of water threatens the livelihoods of citizens. According to a UNDP study, the shortage of water has had a detrimental impact on students. They are unable to focus on studies, which results in poor educational outcomes.

The Ankara dam was built in 1994 to facilitate a population of 35,000. Since its construction, it has dried up at least four times. The absence of maintenance has resulted in a loss of half of its capacity. In the last two years, three Chinese-funded dams have been built with two more under construction as part of the CPEC project. However, these dams are not connected to the city yet. Although Gwadar has several beaches, seawater cannot be used for plantation because it is saline and will not be appropriate for irrigation. Between 2015 and 2016, a desalination plant provided the city with 1.1 million litres of water of the intended 7.5 million litres. Currently, there are no operational desalination plants in the city. Water tankers from the Meerani dam have been used to meet the needs of the citizens of Gwadar. However, this cannot be a permanent solution to water scarcity.

Time and again, the residents have protested and called upon government officials to resolve the crisis. But their calls have fallen on deaf ears. The government needs to adopt measures to tackle the water crisis at its earliest.

HAMMAL ZAHID,

Kolahoo.