The Cholistan Desert area is one of the largest deserts in Pakistan and is home to a semi-nomadic population and their livestock. The primary source of income for Cholistan is cattle breeding. The climate of the desert area, with scanty and unpredictable rainfall as well as long periods of drought, makes water a limited resource. To address the issue of water shortages and to secure access of water to livestock, the people of Cholistan have created water ponds, called “tobas”. However, due to their vulnerability to extreme weather conditions and infiltration, the ponds storage capacities are low. There are around 1500 water points (tobas) in the entire desert out of only 500 were in running condition. Most tobas are not constructed in proper places because their present localities have not been identified on scientific basis to receive maximum rainwater.
Water is needed for drinking and irrigation purposes and paradoxically, in Bhutan water shortages occur despite the presence of sufficient resources. In order to provide irrigation water to farmers living in upper slopes and hilltops in Lingmutey-chu who faced issues in accessing water in 2014, a siphon project was initiated by GWP Bhutan/Royal Society for Protection of Nature in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest in Bhutan.
Aranayake, a secluded agricultural area known mainly for tea and spice cultivation, came to the limelight for tragic reasons with the Samasara landslide of May 2015. Caused partly due to climate change and partly due to anthropogenic influences, the landslide was a result of 6 days of constant high intensity rains. The incident also caused the highest number of casualties ever recorded in a Sri Lankan landslide.
Nepal has vast water resources and approximately 67% of its cultivated land can be irrigated. Out of the 1.7 million ha of Nepal’s irrigable land, 78% has been provided with some irrigation infrastructure. Irrigation is vital to Nepal, especially as the country is facing climate change impacts such as rise in temperature and more erratic rainfall patterns, which is creating prolonged periods of droughts and jeopardising the agricultural production nationwide. As the supply of water for agriculture becomes more variable, water resource competition and water conflicts across the country are equally becoming increasingly visible. The Bajrabarahi Village Municipality is one of those rural communities where water conflicts have been clearly on the rise over the last decade.
Floods are a recurrent natural calamity in Pakistan, followed by earthquakes, cyclones and drought. However, drought is more damaging than floods in terms of food insecurity. Evidence of chronic water shortages have been painfully evident in some parts of Pakistan in recent years, due to low rainfall and extreme variations in temperature.