EVER since Wajjiuddin was a child, he would stare at the sky and anticipate for the rainclouds. Rain meant more to him than it did to other people. For him, rain brought employment, income and prosperity for his family. Every time it rained, he slept better, knowing there is going to be food on the table and smiles on their faces because of the crops his family will be able to grow.
For his family living in the barren town of Gara Abdullah, a small area near Dera Ismail Khan, the monsoon season was life giving.
It was the only season when his family could farm and grow different crops for trade and consumption. Since farming was their means of living, monsoon and rainy seasons were a blessing.
They were the only months when his family could farm in the barren land of Gara Abdullah.
That is not the lifestyle and uncertainty Wajiuddin wished to raise his own family in. He grew up envisioning a better future for his family. Yet, not much changed years later when he had a family of his own to sustain and two children to raise. He still relied on rainwater to grow crops and the town still had limited water supply.
Therefore his income was unpredictable as was his family’s future. Wajiuddin and his family cherished the months following monsoon and rains. They understood the real importance of water and knew that every drop counted, a reality that people in big towns would often forget due to easy access to water.
Wajiuddin’s father recalls that for a very long time they heard that Gomal Zam dam would be built. “Now that it is built, water is flowing and the people are happy and prospering”, he added. When USAID constructed the Gomal Zam dam, things turned around for him. This construction came with a network of canals that bring water from the dam to his field. Ever since then, Wajiuddin gets year round water supply, which has enabled him to grow a variety of crops and increase his cultivated land area.
The Gomal Zam dam has changed the lives of farmers and other people in the area. Through an integrated approach, the community has now been enabled to store floodwaters through the dams to generate electricity, irrigate dry lands and provide drinking water for humans and livestock in the region.
The construction of this dam has not just been monumental for farmers but for other people as well. It is providing electricity, irrigation water and drinking water to thousands of families in Pakistan. Access to clean drinking water and electricity in rural areas of Pakistan has changed lives and enabled people to build better futures.
For his family, these changes have opened new avenues and changed their lifestyle. Wajiuddin’s crops grow all year round ensuring he can put food on the table everyday and send his children to school. Interestingly, Wajiuddin still looks up in the sky occasionally, like in his childhood to see if the rain clouds are forming, but he’s not worried about it anymore. He has other things to look after now: his family and their future.
The theme for this World Water Day is Nature for Water, which presses to look for nature based solutions to conserve water. On this World Water Day, lets celebrate efforts to improve water management, increase water conservation and increase awareness about the efforts to make every drop count. Let us also take this opportunity to know the work of USAID Pakistan and how it is helping in empowering local communities across the country.