Author Archive

As water risks rise, good infrastructure and governance are key – experts

AlertNet: Efficient infrastructure work and good governance will be key to reducing the impacts of worsening climate-linked flooding around the world, water experts and officials told a water management conference at the UN climate talks. Faulty construction and poor governance systems so far have multiplied the impacts of disasters, causing avoidable loss of lives and livelihoods, they said. Mats Eriksson, programme director at the Stockholm International Water Institute, said that decision-making,...

Mountain vulnerabilities, benefits need attention – experts

AlertNet: The value of ecosystems services generated by mountain regions -- such as supplies of water crucial for sustainable development - must be recognised and incentives to protect them created, experts told a mountain conference at the Doha climate talks. Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said there was a need for mountain countries to come together to push forward...

Water storage efforts reverse migration in Pakistan

AlertNet: A year ago, Aslam Bibi and her family left their village and moved to a nearby town, desperate to find a way to eke out a living in the face of failing rainfall that made subsistence impossible. But after a few months, Bibi returned, drawn back home by news of newly constructed reservoirs that have begun soaking the parched farmlands in her area and replenishing underground aquifers. Water is now supplied to Bibi's village of Ghool from a nearby reservoir and mini dam. Stored rainwater is funnelled...

Flood-hit Pakistan moves toward disaster insurance

AlertNet: Hussain Khan lost everything in the 2010 floods that swept through Pakistan: His two children, his home on the banks of the Swat River, his dozens of cattle, sheep and goats, and his six-acre cherry crop. Today the 43-year-old farmer, the sole breadwinner for a family of 10, works as a motel waiter in Mingora, a bustling town in the Swat Valley, some 160 kms (100 miles) northwest of Pakistan's capital city Islamabad. He is grateful to no longer be begging to survive, but he doubts he will recover...

Flood-stricken Pakistan seeks to improve weather forecasts

AlertNet: Ghulam Qadir suffered a heart attack when he saw the rushing floodwaters swamping the rice crop he had been about to harvest in the village of Bakhshapur. "My father crashed to the ground in agony when he saw the damage to his 22 acres (8.9 hectares) of rice,' said Qadir's 21-year-old son Bilal Hussain. "His life was saved by quick medical attention, but doctors say it will take months for him to recover from the shock.' Qadir, 49, is one of about 4.8 million people affected by the monsoon...

Wetland technology could ease Pakistan’s water woes

AlertNet: For farmer Asadullah Kerio, water shortages are a thing of the past. Since 2010, he has been irrigating his land with treated wastewater from a nearby 'constructed wetland' in Majeed Keerio village in Shaheed Benazirabad district, some 271 km (168 miles) northeast of Karachi. "Use of treated wastewater has invigorated my farmland by increasing its fertility level, and I am saving the money I used to spend on applying costly fertilisers and other inputs for boosting soil fertility,' said the 30-year-old...

Islamabad’s taps dry up as water shortages worsen

AlertNet: Fatima Batool lives in a two-story house in a posh residential area of Islamabad that features shiny air-conditioned shopping plazas and restaurant-lined streets. But for the past two months, she has been lacking one key thing: water. As the reservoirs that supply Pakistan's capital with water run dry, so has Batool's tap. "It really feels traumatic, like living in a village, when one has taps like this without water for weeks,' said the 34-year-old mother of three, as she tested a tap in her...

India: Low Indus river flows threaten crops

AlertNet: Ali Jamal is still waiting for irrigation water to soak his parched land in Pakistan's southern Sindh province -- and it is now almost too late for him to get a cotton crop this year. "I have prepared the land, made furrows and broadcast cotton seed in it but there is no irrigation water flowing in the waterways,' the 35-year-old farmer told AlertNet. The coastal district, some 209 km southeast of Karachi and on the eastern side of the Indus River, normally sees irrigation water flowing by...

Pakistan tackles water crisis with rainwater harvesting

AlertNet: Wearing colourful traditional dresses with silver jewellery and bangles on their arms, the women of Tharparkar district look festive. But the empty earthen pots they carry tell a different story. "Walking for three miles and (hoisting) a ... bucket filled with water through a wooden pulley from a 130-feet-deep well twice a day is toilsome work,' says Marvi Bheel, who lives in isolated Morry-je-Wandh village in this arid district of Sindh province, some 450 km (280 miles) south-east of Karachi....