Country Water Actions

Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals, communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.

Pakistan: Restoring Community-Based Water Systems to Alleviate Poverty in Southern Baluchistan, Pakistan

PROPONENT The National Rural Support Program (NRSP), Pakistan's largest rural development organization, has proposed this study. NRSP's development work is premised on the twin beliefs that the rural poor are best able to identify their development priorities, and that they are willing to contribute their own resources to implement these priorities. BACKGROUND The karez is an ancient water supply system unique to Baluchistan. Baluchistan is Pakistan's poorest and leastdeveloped province. A karez consists of a network of hand-dug wells and tunnels that collect ground water for irrigation, livestock and drinking purposes. In an area with no perennial rivers, the karez is the only water-harvesting mechanism available to the poor, who constitute the majority of the population. In some areas, the karez is a vital link between the communities and the dams built by the government. The karez has been threatened from two directions: by the five-year drought and by tube well drilling that has lowered the water table. The drought has wreaked havoc on the economy of Baluchistan, destroying communities and livelihoods, and reducing livestock herds by 80%. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The study will examine efforts to restore the karez to functionality. In the process, it hopes to Examine the linkages between village-level water supply and water security initiatives Establish a clear understanding of the relationship between water, poverty, gender and the multiple social and economic vulnerabilities faced by Baluchistan Demonstrate the value of karez extension as a sustainable and affordable means of enhancing water supply for communities in Baluchistan Investigate traditional and contemporary systems of water rights to see how they might work together

RELATED LINKS PDA: Groundwater Aquifier Rejuvenation Demo and Pilot Project for Balochistan

_______________________________ *This article was first published online at ADB's Water for All website in 2002: The Country Water Action series was developed to showcase reforms and good practices in the water sector undertaken by ADB’s member countries. It offers a mix of experience and insights from projects funded by ADB and those undertaken directly by civil society, local governments, the private sector, media, and the academe. The Country Water Actions are regularly featured in ADB’s Water for All News, which covers water sector developments in the Asia and Pacific region.