Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods: Groundwater model for Kuchlak Sub-basin, Balochistan

Waqas Ahmed, Muhammad Shafqat Ejaz, Uroosa Memon, Syed Khair, Abdur Razzaq Khilji, Rasheed Tarin, Farooq Ahmad, Abdul Latif Qureshi, Mobushir R Khan, Muhammad Amin, Muhammad Latif, Maqsood Ahmed, Jehangir F Punthakey

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Irrigated agriculture has played an important role in the economic sustainability of Pakistan. The role of surface water irrigation remains pivotal in agricultural production and in recent decades the share of irrigation from groundwater has increased exponentially in Balochistan. In the Kuchlak sub-basin which is the focus of this study, groundwater is heavily overexploited leading to unprecedented declines in the watertable - unlike anywhere in Pakistan. Improving management of groundwater will require a rethink of cropping practices, choice of crops, and improved land and water management practices aimed at conserving surface and groundwater resources. This rethink is vital for sustaining agricultural livelihoods in Kuchlak. Presently, groundwater irrigation is neglected with respect to governance and management. Its negligenceis threatening the livelihood of people in Kuchlak and for that matter in in the Pishin Lora Basin.The crux of this change will require a process of involving communities of groundwater users who are empowered to co-design with government stakeholders a better and more sustainable future for Kuchlak.
In this report, we present a regional flow model of the Kuchlak sub-basin which is a part of the Pishin Lora Basin in Balochistan. In the Kuchlak sub-basin a selection of observation bores exhibit a decline in water levels of between 80 to over 100 m in a span of 8 year – and it is a clear indication that unconstrained pumping is resulting in a race to the bottom. A group of observation bores exhibit declines of 40 to 60m from 2010 to 2018. Can it get more alarming than this? The best case scenario shows the bore responses have declined by 30 to 60m. These bores are located in the southern half of the sub-basin. The declines are less than in the northern areas of the sub-basin, nevertheless they are alarming as seen in the consistent linear decline in most bores – yet there is no serious attention being given to slow down this decline.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAlbury, NSW
PublisherInstitute for Land, Water and Society
Commissioning bodyAustralian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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