Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) specially designed 110 model reservoirs with water storage capacity of 440 million gallons spreading over 26,000 sq. kilometers in the Cholistan desert for rainwater harvesting. The council has also installed twenty scientifically designed deep tube wells installed with annual discharge of about 1405 million gallons where groundwater is usable for drinking of human and livestock population.
An official of PCRWR briefed that due to rainwater harvesting system and installation of tubewells, now drinking water is available through the year in the desert. He further informed that these initiatives resulted in significant reduction of human and livestock migration, resulting saving Rs. 6 billions annually, he told APP.
They have also developed and demonstrated desertification control technologies over more than 500 acres in the Cholistan desert for making desert productive through rainwater harvesting, livestock production, saline agriculture, grassland, range management, arid horticulture etc, he added. The official said the most suitable catchments for water harvesting and collection were identified by PCRWR at Dingarh through contour surveys.
They identified total area of the catchment is 90 hectares (220 acres), out of which 10% is covered by small sand dunes, hummocks and shrub vegetation while 90% is flat, devoid of hummocks and vegetation. The soils of the area are dense, saline-sodic, clayey, impervious, poorly drained having pH more than 9.0, useable as an effective catchment area for runoff, he explained. PCRWR constructed Water Filter Plant at the pond to filter water to make it drinkable free of mud and other suspended materials to avoid diseases. Good quality water is being provided to the human population on priority. Surplus rainwater is made available to livestock, he said.—APP