For the past decade or so, Balochistan province has been affected by recurring droughts. Lack of water availability forced many people to migrate to distant towns—the situation deteriorated to a degree where boring water out of the ground had also become increasingly difficult. Village Killi Sardar Abdul Samad — situated within the parameters of Noshki Village was one such locality where water scarcity was unusually severe. Abdul Majeed, and his family had witnessed conditions become progressively worse over time. Some generations ago, when his ancestors first came to the village, there was plenty of clean drinking water for all residents. However, eight long months had passed without rain, causing groundwater to dry up.

With water availability reaching dangerously low levels, there was only enough water for humans to survive on—animals and livestock began to die due to water shortage, causing village locals to sell off their camels for as low as $100 to $150. Until recently, both humans and animals accessed drinking water from a single pond in the village where all the rainwater accumulated. Conditions became rough to the extent where this water also stagnated and was not safe for use.

Over time, as the frequency of rainfall declined further, this single source of water also began to dry up. Women had to travel several miles each day in scorching heat to find a source of clean drinking water for themselves and their families. Many people began to migrate to nearby towns where water was more readily available.

 

 

The Government of Balochistan then collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide remote villages of Noshki access to clean drinking water through solar-powered RO (Reverse Osmosis) plants. UNDP installed these solar-powered RO plants in village Killi Sardar Abdul Samad to provide access to clean drinking water to residents.

"For the first time, we were able to taste clear water. Before the installation of the RO plant, we could only associate a very bitter taste with water. Diarrhoea in young children and lung diseases amongst the elderly became increasingly common. Water-borne diseases became a common cause of death amongst the locals. Pregnant mothers began losing their unborn children as a result of poor health conditions caused by unclean drinking water, and hepatitis was rampant in the area. The nearest hospital was at least 40 kilometres away in Noshki district, and even if those in need of treatment did manage to get to the hospital in time, most locals could not afford the hospital fees," said Abdul Majeed.

"Now that we have clean drinking water available, children have become safe from water-borne diseases. The local population’s health and their general well-being has also improved significantly," he added. 

With an RO plant set up in village Killi Sardar Abdul Samad, women and children from surrounding villages also travel to the village to get water for their families.

 

 

“The plant runs on solar energy during the day. People carry water containers to ensure they have enough clean water available for the entire day. This plant has not only benefited us but has also benefited people from other villages in the area,” said Abdul Majeed. “The water plant has become the boon of our existence,” he added gleefully.

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