Last day, Last drop
Posted by Frank van Steenbergen
December 31, 2018
A woman in Bagh collecting water from a storage pond. Not just collecting but taking the very last bit of water. After this, the ‘thirst’ season starts. In Bagh (Pakistan), in the arid Kacchi Plains, it is hard to access fresh groundwater and there are no perennial rivers, so water availability depends on short bursts of flood water flowing in the ‘rainy’ season. The lifeline is the Narri River carrying water for three to four months.
The system used to be that water was feeding one area after the other, watering the fields and filling the small drinking storage reservoirs. When one area was served a main earthen dam on the Narri River was broken and water was carried to the next area, and so on.
For many people the water in these earthen reservoirs is still the main source of water. Many things change fast in this world, but some do not and persist with an almost nasty resilience – like people having to draw water from small surface reservoirs. There are several things that can be done to make things better – making the reservoirs a bit deeper, so there is less evaporation; protecting them from stray animals with a trench or fence; and equipping them with sand filter pumps so water is better fit for drinking. Some of these things happen but unfortunately not by system. Even then the water in the pond lasts only for so long.
Let us use our ingenuity, sincerity and energy to make things better, to make a season of plenty not peter out – by changing the way water is distributed, stored and used particularly in places where it matters most. We start 2019 with challenges and hopes. We still live in a time where we do not use many of our faculties and where we can redesign the way we have organized our world.