Lake destroyed by the drainage projects

By Maria Soomro

Manchhar lake , one of the Asia biggest fresh water natural lake has been turned into a saline water pond through ill conceived, non participatory and corruption riddled chain of Right Bank Outfall drainage Projects ( RBOD-I, RBOD-III, RBOD-II) carried out by WAPDA. The Drainage projects in the absence of good governance generate only destruction. Because, participatory development , proper operation and maintenance of projects are pre conditioned with deeply rooted culture of good governance in any country.

Most of big drainage projects in Pakistan especially in Sindh such as LBOD and National Drainage Program has met with same fate . World Bank writes about its own financed NDP project that ” The overall project design was overly complex and ambitious and had several shortcomings”. Similarly, regarding LBOD, world bank Management has commented in a official report ” The Panel [Inspection panel] found that the LBOD project failed and that its design was faulty, underestimating inherent and extreme meteorological risks”
The RBOD projects were also carried out with same mind set and attitude that has caused socio,economic,ecological destruction of Manchhar lake and its surroundings.

Historically, the lake was inhabited by more than one hundred thousand people. there were also two thousand residential boats. Millions of migratory birds and water fowls from Siberia used to land on the lake due to the fact that the lake was International route of Migratory birds. There used to be production of three thousand tones of fish per annum!

This biological diversity and beauty came to decline with the when WAPDA started project namely North Dadu Surface drainage in 1976 that carried the drainage effluent of various areas and disposed off into machhar via Main Narra Vally drain ( MNV drain) that link Hammal lake with Machhar lake. Later MNV was named RBOD-I and plans about chain of RBODs were made to receive more drainage effluent.

Latter, WAPDA authorties started working on RBOD-II to to delink RBOD -I from Manchher lake and drain saline water it into Gharo creek in Arabian sea near Thatta.

In this regard Supreme Court has also taken Suo motu notice in 2010.
Given all this , Government of Pakistan should restore the lake. Firstly, the MNV should be delinked from the Manchhar lake and RBOD-II should be completed immediately. Various treatment plants should be installed on various points. Secondly, The plants should be installed at the all entry points of drains which bring saline water into MNV through North Dadu Surface drainage. Plants should be installed at Hammal lake as the lake water could be treated before it is flows into MNV. Treatment plants should be installed at the site of Indus link to desalinate the water and discharge it into Manchhar lake and let the extra water go into RBOD-II . Last but not least, sufficient water should be discharged into Indus So as to enable the main channels, namely Danster Canal, Aral Wah and Mor lak to carry water into Manchhar.

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