KARACHI: The global climate changes are not only affecting the nature but gravely hitting the human life, especially the vulnerable communities of Coastal areas, leaving them in quest for freshwater and making the necessity a far cry for them.
Village Siddique Roonjho located at left bank of Indus River in Sanhri Creek in Taluka Kharo Chan, District Thatta has badly fallen prey to the looming water crisis where inhabitants most of the time seem struggling for a drop of water for survival.
The community of 140 sea fishermen belongs to the tribe known as “Roonjha”, who have ‘water water every where’ but don’t have a single drop to drink.
Haji Abban, narrating his story of woe to APP said, “Severe scarcity of water forced me to leave my native village Sokhi and shifted to village Siddique Roonjha for freshwater.”
World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan under its programme “Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP),” had provided the villagers with a freshwater pond (Water Reservoir), he said.
Abban said, “The pond was filled up with freshwater about two months ago but now it has turned into briny water that only could be used for livestock.”
Looking at the faces of his village-fellows, he elaborated, “We merely left our villages in quest for freshwater and now pining the hope that it will be refilled with freshwater as some of us have travelled here to live a bit better life.”
“The main source of drinking water in the village is a freshwater well. But its water becomes a bit salty sometimes. Now the pond helps keep the well water sweet,” he said.
Site Coordinator for CCAP project, Muhammad Tahir said, “The villagers receive freshwater continuously for four months in monsoon season which meets their needs for six months.”
He said that CCAP project has implemented multiple field interventions at Keti Bunder and Kharo Chan and making efforts to mitigate climate change risks.
Ahmed Roonjho, a villager said that their village was prosperous and they used to have several crops in the past but due to intrusion of sea water they have not seen crops in their village for 15-years.
“I have six children and my debt stands at around 30 to 35 thousand rupees. I try to catch fish in the sea and sell my stock in Karachi,” he said.
Local villager Muhammad Hassan, said he hardly earns 4 to 5 thousandrupees in a month. He said that the sea intrusion has shaken his family so hard that their borrowing has scaled up to approximately Rs 10 lacs, he added.
“We every time voted in a hope to get our problems resolved, but no one turns back despite thier tall claims and promises, said another villager Juman Soto interrupting his fellow Muhammad Hassan.
According to the Community Based Vulnerability Assessment Report-2012 of WWF-Pakistan, Kharo Chan has low-lying mudflats interspersed with narrow and meandering sea channels.
With the decline in fresh water flows downstream of Kotri Barrage, the region has become highly affected by sea intrusion and coastal erosion.
Decline in freshwater flows in the Indus River is the primary reason behind the sea intrusion and coastal erosion.
“The force of the sea is carrying away healthy segments of mangroves because there is no opposite force to resist the momentum of water,” the report says.
The problem of unavailability of freshwater has become so aggravated that the coastal communities of Thatta are facing acute shortage of freshwater even for drinking purpose.
The government of Sindh has a number of plans to provide drinking water to the affected areas but on ground realities are very bitter and painful.