Tharparkar is the desert district in Pakistan with acute water shortage. Groundwater is the only major water source for 1.67 million people, mostly residing in (2800) rural villages. The rainfall pattern is not uniform. The area has also long drought history. The Sindh Relief Department declares Tharparkar as a drought-hit area. The department had declared droughts for the years 1968, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Usually, monsoon drizzles also remain uneven in most of the areas of Tharparkar.
This creates little hope to address the issue of acute water scarcity in the region. There are not any surface water or pipe water facilities in rural villages. Hence, in the absence of rainfall, groundwater becomes only feasible water source in Tharparkar. Whereas dug wells are only mean to extract groundwater in most of the villages. These wells, both shallow and deep, usually draw water from natural aquifers ranging from 50 – 150 feet. These wells fall at a distance of 2-5 kilometers from the villages, thus, people have to travel daily for hours to collect water needed for drinking and other household consumptions. Usually, girls and women are responsible to fetch water from these wells. Poverty, coupled with water scarcity, has exacerbated the poor sanitation and hygiene conditions in rural villages of Tharparkar multiplying the risk of COVID-19 in this pandemic situation. Absence of toilets compels people to defecate in the open. An integrated WASH response is also required to mitigate the vulnerabilities of marginalized communities. The proposed project will ensure improved access to WASH services through the provision of water and sanitation facilities (hand pump, toilets, etc) and hygiene education.
Selected communities will have access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation facilities, and better hygiene conditions.