Some of the canals in Sindh, Pakistan are the world’s biggest. For instance, the Rohri Canal (which irrigates 1.3 Million hectares) and the Nara Canal (1 Million hectares) are wider and longer than the Suez Canal.
Every year around this time (two weeks in January) these large canals are closed down for maintenance. Among other things, this involves people and excavators removing silt that has built up over the previous year.
Given its scale, this big cleanup is quite a spectacle. It also makes one reflect on their value to Sindh’s agriculture and economy. Thanks to them, large parts of the state that were arid/semi-arid till the 1930s have come under perennial irrigation. The consequent salinization of land is a big challenge- it has rendered large areas uncultivable or hampered their productivity irreparably. The silver lining is a small number of farmers adopting smart water management and drainage practices to deal with the situation.
More stories, pictures and reflections on Sindh, its canals and their big cleanup can be found on the latest post on TheWaterBlog (‘The Big Cleanup’).
Do you have stories about Sindh, canals or salinization of your own? Please share them with us on email@example.com