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Gwadar risks becoming ghost town due to water shortage

26 June, 2012

QUETTA: Gwadar, Balohistan's future economical and port city, is facing the problem of drinking water and the Ankara Kaur Dam, which was build in 1993, is empty now thanks to the wrong and defective designing and architecture by the NESPAK.

Balochistan National Party (BNP-Awami) leader Kahuda Babar told that leaders from the federal government had always made tall claims that Gwadar was on its way to development but they cannot see that the local people of Gwadar were facing acute shortage of drinking water. "The Ankara Kaur Dam is empty now there is no more water available for drinking. If the positive steps are not taken then there will be the loss of a large number of human lives," he said, adding that the former district government had installed tube wells to overcome the shortage, but demand of the port city was more than its capacity.

He demanded the federal government take immediate steps to bring water from Mirani Dam. If these steps are not taken then Gwadar city will be a ghost town in the near future and people would be forced to leave the city, he added.

The Ankara Kaur Dam, built in 1993 and stretching over an area of 17,000 acres, remains the sole source of water supply to the local inhabitants. The crisis worsened in 2006 as population increased following construction of the deep water port.

Gwadar Town and Jiwani constitute 50 percent of the total population of Gwadar district and rely on the Ankara Kaur Dam reservoir for all their water needs. Residents of the other three coastal towns of Pasni, Ormara and Sunt Sar are dependent on seasonal rivers for meeting their demands.

The citizens decried the utter failure of authorities to come up with a viable solution to the problem.

"They are always making tall claims about developing Gwadar city, but in reality we are deprived of basic necessities," says a local journalist, Dilshad Diyani. "The government is doing nothing except making false claims. Gwadar has been suffering from an acute water shortage for the past decade, but no concrete steps have been taken to overcome this problem."

The incumbent provincial government, however, remains optimistic that they can overcome the crisis.

"We have taken up this issue with the chief minister who visited Gwadar recently. He not only approved several water projects but also directed authorities concerned to expedite their efforts," says Hamal Kalmati, provincial minister for fisheries, who was elected from Gwadar.

According to Kalmati, the Balochistan government has approved Rs 4 billion for Shadi Kaur Dam and another Rs 2 billion for Sawar Dam, both of which are currently under construction.

To avert the crisis in the short term, a plan to connect Gwadar with the Mirani Dam in Kech district is being chalked out. However, according to Kalmati, the political administration in Kech is against the move. The crisis of water for Gwadar was expected when wrong planning and designing of the Ankara Kaur Dam was prepared by the NESPAK. The storage area of the dam had silted up in less than 25 years while it was designed for half a century.

The government should start desilting and also carry out work on the pattern of Mangla Dam, local engineers and independent economists suggested.


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