KARACHI - Sindh’s 70 per cent underground water has turned arsenic. The 142 million acre-feet water is available in our rivers out of which 104 million acre-feet water is used while the rest is wasted.

This was stated at a workshop on “Formulation of Draft Sindh Water Policy”, held at a local hotel on Wednesday. Speaking at the workshop, Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) Chairman Muhammad Nawaz Chandio said that the drainage sewerage should be stopped from flowing into the sweet water so as to save the health of people.

“SIDA is being run according to the Water Management Ordinance 2002 and its primary objective is to improve water system in Sindh. This system comprises three barrages and canals. Pakistan’s irrigation system is the largest in the world. With the passage of time, the need was felt to bring reforms in the irrigation system so that tail-enders could get their due water share, he said. Chandio said they had received very beneficial recommendations which would help develop a proper water policy.

Agriculture Director Ayaz Abro said: “Water is life and is one of the thousands of blessings from the God in this world. The 142 million acre-feet water is available in our rivers out of which 104 million acre-feet water is used while the rest is wasted.” He suggested holding of such workshops for raising awareness among the growers about proper water use. He said that 34,000 watercourses had been strengthened while 16,000 others were being strengthened in Sindh.

Water Improvement Sindh’s Managing Director Jamal Mangan said that the water policy should be according to the irrigation approach and distribution of water must also be as per the same approach so that growers at tail-end could get their due share. He said previously, Larkana’s water was very sweet, but it should be probed how it had turned contaminated.

Larkana Mayor Aslam Shaikh said: “If 100 per cent watercourses are strengthened, the water wastage could be stopped.” He claimed that he had stopped flowing of 28 sewage pipes water into rice canal, which is now being discharged through an alternate system. Shaikh said that due to increase in population, water usage had also increased in Larkana city. He hoped that the drainage system would be improved in the current year.

Chandka Medical College Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr. Mahbood Shah said that he had got checked water of four different places of the hospital which was found highly contaminated.  He said it would be better if irrigation laws were enforced to ensure equal water distribution among the users. He said in every 90 seconds, one child is dying due to unsafe water. He said the water issues surfaced during floods and dry season for which Sindh government should adopt a clear policy.