Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

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Breaking The Tanker Mafia’s Grip On Pakistan’s Water Supply

Publication Year : 2023
Author: Abid Rehman
Explore More : PIDE in Press

Rainwater harvesting provides a relatively low cost and eco-friendly alternative to cartelized water mafias that are involved in the illegal sale of groundwater resources
As summer has begun, water scarcity will continue to be a growing issue in Pakistan, with the per capita availability of surface water dropping from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 900 cubic meters in 2023. The situation is expected to worsen by 2030, with Pakistan being declared a water-stressed country since 1990. The extraction of groundwater has also crossed the feasible limit of safe yield, with Pakistan removing 50 MAF from underground aquifers. In addition, the lack of planning and infrastructure for water management has led to extreme floods and droughts, making it essential to find sustainable solutions to the water crisis. Furthermore, it is important to note that in the urban centers, the tanker mafia exploitation factor is a significant issue in Pakistan’s water crisis. Tanker mafias, also known as water cartels, control the water supply in many urban areas of Pakistan, and their business practices are often corrupt and exploitative. They illegally extract and sell water from natural resources, including groundwater, and sell it at exorbitant prices to consumers. The poor are hit the hardest by this system, as they cannot afford to pay for water and are forced to rely on contaminated sources.

One solution to the water crisis in urban areas of Pakistan is rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting can provide a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to this system, helping to reduce the reliance on tanker mafias and ensuring that everyone has access to clean water. Many urban areas in Pakistan rely on tanker mafias to provide water due to a need for more infrastructure and water management. However, this system could be more efficient and costly, with the poor being hit the hardest. The reliance on tanker mafias also increases the likelihood of water-borne diseases due to poor quality and storage of water. Rainwater harvesting can provide a more reliable and cost-effective alternative to the tanker mafia system, ensuring everyone can access clean water.

With 80% of rainfall happening during the monsoon season in two to three months, storage of water is the main answer to Pakistan’s food and water security difficulties. Rainwater harvesting remains the optimal choice for fixing Pakistan’s water struggles in urban areas. It gives the ideal alternative source of water where existing water sources are draining amid a developing populace. The strategy also mitigates low-lying regions’ flooding and lessens interest in well-water, eventually reestablishing the groundwater holds. At the point when a drought happens, water stored beforehand can be utilized. Moreover, attributable to its expense adequacy and eco-friendliness, rainwater harvesting is a widely acceptable and applicable answer for developing nations, hence perfect for Pakistan.

The benefits of rainwater harvesting in urban areas of Pakistan are numerous. For instance, it is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and provides a reliable water source. The water collected through rainwater harvesting can be used for various purposes, such as household drinking water, agriculture, and sanitation. The reasonable water that should be shipped to run the bathroom, kitchen, and clothing, costing cash, can now be saved. Assuming that it is done right, rainwater harvesting or storing can reduce the monthly bill of an average family in Pakistan by up to 8-10,000 PKR during even harsh summer months that is being paid to the tanker mafia. Implementing rainwater harvesting systems in urban areas of Pakistan may have its challenges. However, the benefits could be far-reaching with the proper infrastructure, education, and incentives. The government can encourage rainwater harvesting by providing tax breaks and subsidies to households that invest in such systems. Education campaigns can also be launched to raise awareness of the benefits of rainwater harvesting, how to install and maintain these systems, and the importance of sustainable water management practices.

In conclusion, the water crisis and issue of cartelization of tanker mafias in urban areas of Pakistan can be solved by implementing rainwater harvesting systems. Rainwater harvesting is a reliable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly solution that can help to reduce reliance on tanker mafias and provide clean water to everyone. The government, civil society, and private sector must work together to create a sustainable water management system that benefits everyone. It is time to act now and invest in rainwater harvesting systems to secure a better future for Pakistan.

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