The picturesque Soon Valley, encompassing the Uchali, Khabeji, and Jahalar lakes, has become a popular tourist destination despite its limited tourism infrastructure. Recently, a group of environmental journalists, organized by the Institute of Urbanism, embarked on a unique visit to witness the impact of water management projects, particularly rainwater harvesting techniques.
This article explores the significance of these initiatives in addressing water scarcity, promoting sustainability, and mitigating the effects of climate change in the region.
Exploring Soon Valley’s Water Management Challenges:
The journey to Soon Valley unveiled the breathtaking beauty of the region, with its serene landscapes and vibrant farmlands. However, it also revealed the pressing challenges faced by local communities, including water scarcity and the depletion of underground water levels due to extensive vegetable cultivation.
The decline in migratory bird populations in Uchali Lake further highlighted the need for sustainable water management practices.
Rainwater Harvesting: A Solution to Water Scarcity:
Recognizing the urgency of water management, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan initiated various projects, prominently rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting involves collecting, conveying, and storing rainwater from clean surfaces such as roofs, land, or rock catchments.
Through the establishment of 16 rainwater harvesting units, the WWF aims to replenish 1,300 cubic meters of water annually. The project’s advantages include its low-cost nature, reduced water bills, and promotion of water and energy conservation.
Ablution Water Reuse: Enhancing Water Efficiency:
In addition to rainwater harvesting, the WWF introduced ablution water reuse systems in mosques. By treating and recycling water used for ablution purposes, these systems reduce the strain on groundwater resources and alleviate environmental pollution.
The treated water, after passing through a filtration process, can be used for irrigation, horticulture, and non-portable water demands. Two ablution water reuse systems have already been installed, with plans for two more systems in the near future.
Floating Treatment Wetland: Purifying Water Bodies:
To combat water pollution, the WWF implemented the Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW) project in the Mardwal village. This innovative approach utilizes floating platforms of vegetation to remove pollutants from water bodies.
The FTW’s design is tailored to specific requirements, considering factors such as water body size, pollutant types, and treatment goals. Through a floating treatment wetland installed in a wastewater pond, an estimated 19,000 cubic meters of wastewater can be treated annually.
Artificial Groundwater Recharge: Combating Urban Flooding and Drought:
To address the challenges of urban flooding and drought, the WWF has constructed artificial groundwater recharge wells in Soon Valley. These wells play a crucial role in replenishing aquifers and mitigating flood risks.
Various methods, such as redirecting water across land surfaces or injecting water directly into the ground, are employed to recharge groundwater. With four wells already operational, Soon Valley is set to benefit from an additional four recharge wells in the coming years.
The initiatives undertaken by the WWF in Soon Valley exemplify a proactive approach to sustainable water management.
Through rainwater harvesting, ablution water reuse, floating treatment wetlands, and artificial groundwater recharge, the region is embracing innovative solutions to combat water scarcity, promote environmental resilience, and improve the livelihoods of local communities.
These projects serve as a testament to the transformative power of nature-based solutions and collective efforts in preserving our precious water resources.