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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beneath the Surface

While 2011 saw excessive torrential rain all over Pakistan that resulted in floods that caused wide placed damage and displaced many people, this year the monsoon rains have been well below the level needed to irrigate fields, and fill natural water bodies and man made dams to serviceable levels. This shortage of rain spells disaster, and what looms now is the danger of a drought.

When it comes to needs and wants the people living in Dera Ghazi Khan are no different from people inhabiting the many villages and towns of Pakistan who depend upon natural water sources such as streams and rivers for their daily need. Naturally without seasonal rains these rivers and streams can not fulfill the needs of the people dependent upon them.

Mahrab Khan is a resident of 'Chooti', a remote area of the Dera Ghazi Khan district. Growing up in Chooti Mehrab was acutely aware of the local community’s needs and after attending an Active Citizens training course his awareness gained focus. Mahrab decided that the most immediate need that his community members was the availability of water. He therefore decided to design a Social Action Project around the provision of water to the various small localities called 'bastees' in the area. Mahrab teamed up with two other Active Citizens: Mr. Ali Abbas and Mr. Kumail to start work on the project.

The group members pooled in their resources to fund the digging of underground water holes in these areas. Ten workers were hired to help them dig these wells. Wells have always been a traditional and cheap method of providing clean water to remote areas, where no other water source is available.

In some places they found drinking water at 140 ft while at other spots they had to dig as deep as 300 ft. The group has also installed taps in some of these water sources in order to make it easier for people to collect water. The group has so far been successful in digging 5 wells, where each well provided access to clean water to 25 – 30 localities. They have also initiated the same activity in other areas so that more people can benefit from their Social Action Project.