A town called Johi

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The people of Johi have to go miles to fetch drinking water. The farmers have no water to irrigate their fields because whatever water is available is being usurped by the influential people.

Unfortunately this is the story of the people all over Pakistan who are facing scarcity of water. The amount available per person has reduced drastically over the years because of increase in population and because we are not storing enough water to last us through the year.

Let us say for example that a man has a fixed income which is sufficient for him for the present, will it remain sufficient when the size of his family increases? The size of the Pakistan’s family was 80 million when our second dam was built and the two dams started giving us 104 million acre feet of irrigation water (one maf is one foot of water standing over one million acres). Now after 38 years the size of our family has increased to 190 million, but we still have the same fixed income in terms of water. Is it any surprise that there are severe shortages all around, of drinking water, of water for irrigation, of water for industry, of water for power generation?

Only a third mega dam can increase the 104 maf that we have been managing with for the last 38 years. Small dams will not fill the huge gap between supply and demand, Dasu dam will not give us any water, Bhasha dam has many physical hurdles to cross and will take many years to deliver. The only dam without any physical hurdle is Kalabagh dam.

It is for us to surmount the mental hurdle if Johi and other towns like it are ever to get drinking water at their doorsteps and their farmers get a foot of water to stand over their fields.

ENGR KHURSHID ANWER

Lahore