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Rainwater Harvesting needs Urgent Attention


Sultan Kiani

Despite receiving extensive rainfall, the groundwater table in our urban towns is rapidly shrinking. Rainwater harvesting must be deployed across Pakistan to conserve and address the key concern of rapidly dwindling water resources.

The rapid shrinking in our groundwater table is mainly because the urban greenbelts have been replaced by impermeable layers of concrete, stone and asphalt where rainwater cannot infiltrate to recharge the aquifers. Adding fuel to the fire, people are increasingly pumping out groundwater by drilling. As rain falls, more water escapes and very little enters into the ground. This not only results in groundwater depletion but also contributes to flash floods.

The Capital Development Authority has made it mandatory for all the new buildings to have a rainwater harvesting system. It is a good move, but it is still too little and too late. The laws should be implemented and expanded to the entire country. Following recommendations could be helpful in conserving groundwater and reducing urban flooding:

  • Rainwater Harvesting should be made mandatory for all existing buildings; begin enforcement from commercial businesses, schools, and large sized homes.

  • The government should convince and assist the citizens to set up rainwater collection systems.

  • Specialized institutions like PCRWR should actively play their role; they could provide technical assistance to industries and big businesses to install rainwater harvesting and well recharge systems.

  • Business owners with extensive water usage i.e. Car Wash should be required to install rainwater harvesting setup.

  • Print and electronic media, as well as social media influences, should play their role by running public awareness campaigns about the importance of rainwater harvesting.

  • Rawalpindi Development Authority initiated a water conservation pilot project in selected mosques in 2021. This should be expanded to as many worship places as possible.

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