By Suleman Hashim
At the moment, everyone is dreaming of making Gwadar into an international port city like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. But the ground reality speaks of a different situation. For example, potable water, a basic requisite for life, is not available in the dreamed port city yet.
Due to a spell of drought, once more, the population of Gwadar faces a shortage of water. Local people are struggling to find a drop of water after spending all day in search of water.
Protest on the Streets Against Water Shortage:
Every other day the people are seen protesting on the streets of Gwadar against the shortage of water but all that goes to the dead ears of the administration. The residents are complaining that there is no water provision plan for Gwadar city anywhere in sight despite all the prevailing hype of mega project CPEC.
Once it rains a little, everyone including the local and federal governments forgets about the water shortage issue.
The Daily Struggles of Locals In Search of Water:
Captan Khuda Bukhsh, a resident of UC South, has not ventured into the sea for fishing because he is busy in search of water. He says, “I need water for my kids and the rest of the family members.” He told Pak Voices that he is compelled to bring water for his family from a relative’s home in UC North of Gwadar city.
25 Years old Ankara Core Dam: Main Source of Water Supply
When the Ankara Core Dam was constructed tin 1992 to supply water to the residents of Gwadar, the population of the city was not more than 30 thousand people. The suburbs of Gwadar were supplied fresh ground water from the tube wells in Santsar Core. At the time these sources were enough for the small population.
Now, in 2017 when the population of Gwadar has gone over 200,000 according to estimates, the things have changed altogether. The dam went dry in 2012 due to a longer spell of drought. It became gradually worse in 2014 and 2016. In 2017, the issue has become even worst. The locals say that they have not been provided even a single drop of water for the last seven days.
Timeline of the Recent Dry spells in Gwadar:
The Ankara dam went dry in 2012 for the first time due to a longer spell of drought. Water crisis occurred again in 2014 and 2016. In 2017, the issue has again hit hard the people of Gwadar since the dam has gone dry once again.
The locals complain that they have not been provided even a single drop of water for the last seven days.
The women are also seen in desperation, carrying their pitchers and pots, straying around the streets looking for water.
Water Demand and Supply Gap:
According to the data of the Public Health Engineering Department, the city needs between 3 million and 5 million gallons of water per day. The department says that the current daily water supply stands at 800,000 gallons. Thus creating a minimum shortfall of 2.2 million gallons.
Like the previous drought spells, the administration is planning to use water tankers as a temporary fix, to supply water to the residents of Gwadar and its suburbs.
Bowsers’ Bill Unpaid:
On the other hand, the water tankers owners complain that the Baluchistan Government owes them hundreds of millions of rupees. They say when the government clears the previous dues, only then they will be able to supply water. While speaking to
While speaking to PakVoices, Musa Baloch a tanker owner says, “I have not been paid for the previous trips I made.” According to the rate of 16000 Rupees for a trip, the administration owes me 560,000 rupees for the 35 trips I made.
“According to the rate of 16000 Rupees for a trip, the administration owes me 560,000 rupees for the 35 trips I made.”
Source of Tank Water:
At present, the tankers travel, 80 kilometers away from the city to Sood Dam and bring water. But it is feared that in the current drought-like situation, this source of water is also not going to last long. Locals tell PakVoices, If that happens the tankers will have to travel 160 kilometers to Mirani dam to fetch water. This would double the cost of supply.
In the current water crisis, Pakistan Army has been assigned the tough task of equal and fair distribution of water in the area and the citizens have breathed a sigh of relief over this step.
Tank Water ‘Too Expensive’:
Locals told PakVoices that they are forced to buy a gallon of drinking water for 140 rupees. As for washing and cleaning, they are left with the only hard saline water which is harmful to skin and can cause rashes if not chronic skin diseases according to medical experts.
Suleman Hashim is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Gwadar city.
Edited by Hasan Khan
Translated by Tariq Mehmood Gondal