World Water Day today: 1998-2003 worst drought years for Balochistan and Sindh
ISLAMABAD: Monday is going to be observed as World Water Day, the World Conservation Union said in a statement released on Sunday.
The arid areas of Balochistan and Sindh were worst affected between 1998 to 2003 when unstoppable droughts continued and engulfed South Asia severely. Punjab experienced the worst droughts in 1899, 1920 and 1935, while the NWFP was hit in 1902 and 1951.
Sindh had its worst drought years in 1871, 1881, 1899 and 1931. Poor planning, mismanagement and faulty governance in the water sector have been major factors leading to water-related disasters in developing countries, the statement said.
However, long term planning and disaster management strategies can limit the damage and subsequent losses, the statement said. In the backdrop of above scenario, IUCN Pakistan has identified fresh water as one of the four priority technical areas to focus on in the next five years. Through the Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) and with the support of the government of the Netherlands, IUCN Pakistan has recently started a water programme, which addresses key issues related to water. The activities outlined in the programme lay greater stress on the water sector problems in Balochistan due to its greater vulnerability to drought, extreme scarcity of water, inefficient water usage practices and poverty.
WANI aims to rectify existing trends in demographics, consumption patterns and human-nature relationships, in order to ensure that the current and future demands for water resources are realistically achieved, without compromising the ecological, biological and hydrological basis and related ecosystems.
In view of the critical importance of information sharing and an access to authentic water related information for effective water management and decision-making, IUCN has also set up a Pakistan Water Gateway (PWG), accessible at www.waterinfo.net.pk. It addresses water as a resource in its many dimensions, serves to access and disseminate shared experiences, publicise policies, guidelines and facilitate cooperation on water issues. —APP