Beyond the imminent environmental catastrophe that awaits Balochistan are the social consequences of this state-sponsored rush toward modern tubewells.With the dropping of the water table, and with the introduction of every tubewell, dozens of karezes go dry.As one of my research respondents noted: “A tubewell is owned by an individual, [and] two or three people are earning their living [from it], but a karez is communally owned, [and] 500-1000 people may be earning their living [from it].” The main beneficiaries of the replacement of karezes with electric tubewells in Balochistan have been the large farmers.
The karez system is equitable between upstream and downstream users.
A water user who has the first parcel of land along a karez water course also has rights to the last parcel of land on the same channel.
However, tubewells and electricity to run them present a major drain on the financial resources of their owners.
Tubewells are also the main cause of depletion of groundwater; indeed, levels are dropping at alarming rates in Balochistan, particularly in the Quetta, Mastung, and Pishin districts.
Karez communities also often hold 24 hours of water in reserve to be auctioned at the beginning of every planting season to finance karez maintenance. The office of the mir-e-aab is generally separate from the village head, and the position is not necessarily hereditary.
What Is Thinking Critically - Essay On Tubewell
Furthermore, the mir-e-aab presides over a water management committee and is not an absolute leader.
Karezes in Kandahar were used to water the vineyards that produced wine that Babur—the first Mughal emperor of India—eagerly awaited in the sixteenth century, on the plains of Bhera in northern Punjab, where Alexander the Great had also made camp during his Indian campaign.
Karezes are not just irrigation structures, but are also the bond that holds together the social, economic, and cultural life of the communities in which they are located.
Although the agricultural productivity in Balochistan has increased with the surge in water availability from tubewells, that surge is likely to be temporary because the water is being pumped unsustainably.
The poor lose not only their livelihoods but also their sense of pride and dignity.