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Impact of Water Scarcity on Wetlands in Sindh

By
Rahat Jabeen, Freshwater Ecologist,
Wetlands Conservation Officer, WWF-Pakistan
Introduction:
Wetlands are estimated to occupy around 8.6 million sq km (6.4 %) of the earth's surface, out of
which about 4.8 million sq km are found in the tropics and sub-tropics. This estimation was
compared with estimates in the 19th century and it was found that approximately 50% of the
world's wetlands have been lost in the past century alone. The major activities responsible for
wetlands loss are urbanization, drainage for agriculture, and water system regulation (Shine & de
Klemm, 1999). Development activities, like excavation, filling, draining, and so forth, are the
major destructive methods resulting in a significant loss of wetland. Environmental impacts on
wetlands may be grouped into five main categories: loss of wetland area, changes to water
regime, changes in water quality, overexploitation of wetland products, and introduction of exotic
or alien species. These quality and quantity declinations, have contributed to the decline in the
biological diversity of flora and fauna, migratory birds, and productivity of wetland systems.
Simultaneously, several thousand species have become extinct, and fish, timber, medicinal plants,
water transport, and water supply are over exploited.
What are Wetlands?
Wetland is the collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs, and similar areas. They are fragile
ecosystems that are susceptible to changes even with little change to the composition of their
biotic and abiotic factors. In recent years, there has been increasing concern over the continuing
degradation of world's wetlands, particularly rivers and lakes. Interfacing between land and water
systems, they are highly productive and biologically rich ecosystems, and are also the most
endangered.
According to the Ramsar Convention1, wetlands are defined as "areas of marsh, fen, peatland or
water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing,
brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed
six metres" (Article 1.1). In addition, the Ramsar Convention (Article 2.1) provides that wetlands
"may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of
marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands". As a result, coverage
of the Ramsar Convention may be extended to include not only obvious freshwater resources
such as rivers and lakes, but also coastal and shallow marine ecosystems, including coral reefs,
artificial water bodies and underground water resources. Several broad wetland types can,
however, be identified: lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes), riverine (wetlands along
rivers and streams), palustrine (marshes, swamps and bogs), marine (coastal wetlands, including
rocky shores and coral reefs), estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes and mangroves), and
artificial water bodies (fish ponds, reservoirs and artificial lakes). While most wetlands are
natural sites, artificial water bodies are also included under the Ramsar definition in view of their
ecological and cultural importance. Artificial lakes and other impoundments created by the
strategic blocking of a river or stream may give rise to life-supporting ecosystems that can, if
properly managed, benefit people and wildlife.
Functions of wetlands:
Wetland ecosystems, by definition, depend on water to maintain their ecological functions.
Wetlands sustain all life and perform useful functions in the maintenance of ecological balance.
The hydrological cycle renews the flow and quantity of water in rivers, aquifers, lakes and all
other freshwater ecosystems. Wetlands filter sediments and nutrients from surface water and

1
Convention on Wetlands called as Ramsar Convention, 1971.

Reference of the paper: 1


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
support all life forms through extensive food webs and biodiversity. These are complex
ecosystems, the boundaries of which are often in a state of flux. Wetlands are therefore easily
affected by external events. Nutrient and sediment loads, for example, are frequently moved from
one site to another and from one habitat to another. Minerals and nutrients not absorbed by living
freshwater organisms may find their way into the marine ecosystem, often thousands of
kilometres from where they first entered the water. Different categories of wetlands perform
different functions, many of which are not immediately obvious: coastal wetlands (mangroves,
estuaries, salt marshes, seagrass beds, coral reefs and mudflats) are vital spawning and nursery
areas for large numbers of fish. Inland wetlands - rivers and lakes - not only provide abundant
food and income for millions of people, but also serve as an essential lifeline for
communications: goods have been traded along all major rivers for centuries. They are the natural
storehouses of considerable levels of biological diversity and provide the life support systems for
much of humanity. They play a vital role in sediment and erosion control, flood control,
maintenance of water quality and abatement of pollution, maintenance of water supplies
(including groundwater) and support for fisheries. Mangroves, for example, serve as natural
breakwaters, shielding tropical shorelines from cyclones and hurricanes. The trees also yield
valuable timber and fuel wood; thatch for building; fibres for textiles and paper; tannins, resins,
dyes and oils; as well as medicines from the bark and leaves. A range of fruits, fish and shellfish
are also collected, many of which are of importance to local communities in terms of subsistence
and income-generating opportunities.
In addition to their ecological importance, wetlands are indirectly responsible for considerable
economic and social benefits, including maintenance of fisheries, provision of water supplies
(maintenance of quality and quantity), support to agriculture, wildlife resources and timber
production, providing energy resources (peat and plant matter), transport, and supporting
important recreational and tourism opportunities. Wetlands also contribute to climatic stability
through their role in global water and carbon cycles. (Wetlands and Biodiversity-Ramsar
Bureau,1996).
Wetlands Situation in Pakistan:
Wetlands cover approximately 9.7% or 7,800,000 hectares (7,800 km 2) of the total area of
Pakistan (803,941 km2). The country has a great variety of wetlands, both man-made and natural.
The Indus River and floodplains form the main wetland artery for the country, and the majority of
the population of Pakistan is closely dependent on the wetland resources provided directly and
indirectly by this great river. There is an inextricable link between agriculture, irrigation and
wetlands in Pakistan. Indeed many prominent wetland sites, which have become very important
for waterfowl, are reservoirs and dams created within the last fifty years. However, these
wetlands are now suffering because of ineffective management in the catchment areas, where
forests are being cut at an unsustainable rate. Loosened soil is washed into the river systems and
siltation takes place, thereby reducing the life span of dams and reservoirs. Natural wetlands are
also suffering because the water for sustaining their levels is being diverted in order to fulfill the
demands of agricultural lands. The water that does reach the natural wetlands is generally laden
with silt, fertilizer and pesticide runoff, causing additional problems of siltation and
eutrophication.
Wetlands in Pakistan are under threat from various forces, primary among which is man.
Although most local communities have exploited wetland resources in a sustainable manner for
centuries, a combination of increasing population pressure and migration has meant that current
patterns of water usage are no longer sustainable. Substantially increased demands from urban
areas for water resources have led to the construction of dams, barrages, irrigation systems, etc,
creating additional burdens. Wetland ecosystems provide a wide range of services, many of
which are taken for granted in government planning and development processes, and are thus
Reference of the paper: 2
“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
undervalued. (Wetland Action Plan – 2000).
An Overview of the Wetlands of Sindh:
Sindh is very rich in wetland diversity and over one hundred wetlands which vary in size, form
and character in Sindh are important in respect of biodiversitical pools and source of income for
thousands of local peoples. These wetlands range from coast, river, lake, marsh, pond and
channels to lagoons. Their water sources are seepage, effluents from sugar and other industries,
storm water drainage and runoff from agricultural fields. Mostly wetlands are formed due to the
irrigation seepage or the water taken from the irrigation canals. Pakistan has 19 wetlands
recognized under Ramsar Convention. Sindh Province is bestowed with a number of wetlands
including 10 Ramsar sites of international importance. These serve the purposes of irrigation,
fisheries, water storage and resting, feeding and roosting places for the migratory birds and
resident waterfowls.
The waterbirds from Siberia and the other Central Asian Republics migrate through Central Asian
and South Asian flyway and spend their winter in the wetlands of Sindh as resting, staging and
feeding ground because these wetlands are situated on their flyway.
In Sindh the wetlands resources utilised by local people are:
• Wetland Plants like:
o Typha for domestic purposes such as in roof thatching mats making small boats,
brooms and baskets etc.
o Lotus plant In Sindh there is a traditional dish to cook the lotus roots as a speciality.
The seeds are eating locally and available in the local market.
• Water for the domestic purposes like drinking, washing and livestock drinking etc.
• Fishing: Freshwater fishing is the second main occupation after the agriculture in Sindh
besides hundreds of natural wetlands; there are numerous fish ponds which are commercially
operated.
Coastal wetlands of Thatta and Badin are very important for estuarine fishing. The coastal
livelihood i.e. fishing is the main occupation of the local people. Sindh has great contribution in
the fishing industry due to high quality shrimps and fishes found in its coastal waters.
Mangroves of Indus Delta are one of the largest stands of arid zone mangroves. The area covered
by the mangrove is about 129,000 ha, 97% of the total mangrove area in Pakistan. The major
species in the delta is the Avicennia marina 95% of the total mangrove population, other species
like Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops tagal, Aegiceras corniculata. The delta area supports the
large stand of mangrove forest in the Pakistan to maintain the delta habitat. This mangrove forest
also supports the bird’s population which ultimately maintains the ecology of the area such as
Pelican, Greater flamingo, Wigeon, Common Pochard, Lapwing, Common coot, etc. Beside these
3 species of marine dolphin which are Plumbeous dolphin, Finless porpoise, and bottle nose
dolphin. It also supports the Humpback Whale and 4 species of reptiles. The delta area supports
the significant population of fishes.
Ramsar sites in Sindh: 1) Haleji Lake, 2) Keenjhar Lake, 3) Drigh Lake, 4) Indus Dolphin
Reserve, 5) Deh Akro II wetland complex, 6) Indus Delta (mangrove and marshy swamps),
7) Rann of Kutch, 8) Narri lagoon, 9) Jabboh Lagoon, 10) Hub Dam.
Major threats / Issues of Wetlands of Sindh:
• Drought
• Bad agricultural practices
• Eutrophication
• Developmental projects without EIA
• Coastal and Estuarine Habitat loss due to Sea intrusion

Reference of the paper: 3


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
• Shortage of water in the River Indus
• Species loss
• Habitat shrinkage
• Salinity increased.

Water Scarcity in Sindh:


The main causes of water scarcity and their impacts on wetlands are as follows:
1- Shortage of water in the rivers
Since mostly wetlands receive water directly and indirectly from the irrigation canals. Since
last few years due to scarcity of freshwater less amount of water has been released for the
Sindh. In past the estimated freshwater flows in Indus Delta was about 150 Million Acre Feet
(MAF). The silt load also been carrying with water was 400 million tonnes. According to the
Indus Water Apportionment Agreement in 1991 Sindh has been allocated water of 48.76
MAF. Moreover, 10MAF is required to escape the water below downstream Kotri for the
survival of Mangrove forest in Indus Delta. During last 60 years the construction of Dams
and barrages reduced the historic freshwater flow to the downstream which was estimated as
less than 10MAF, while silt load is reduced from 100 million tonnes / year up to 30 million
tonnes annually. For example during 1999-2000, flows downstream Kotri barrage was 8.83
MAF which were further reduced to 0.72 and 1.925 MAF during the year 2000-2001 and
2001-2002 respectively. Since Pakistan is mainly an agriculture country mostly the water
used in irrigation and generating the power.

Graph-1

Number of days per season with Zero Flows downstream Kotri Barrage (WAPDA) Ref: WCD Report 2000.

1.1 Impact on wetlands ecosystem:


The reduction in freshwater supply has direct impact on the biodiversity as well as on livelihood
of the people. The water from pre Taunsa barrage is mainly used in extensive agriculture It is one
of the main man made reason of shortage of water supply after the Guddu Barrage. For example
the severe impact can be seen in the case of Mangroves of the Indus delta which is found in two
locations i.e. northern and southern. Former runs from Korangi to China creek, near Keti Bunder
and later start from Mal to Seer Creek, touching the Indian border in the Rann of Kutch. The total
area of Indus Delta mangrove forest is 617,470 ha. In 1958 the Govt.of Sindh transferred 344,870

Reference of the paper: 4


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
ha to Sindh Forest Department and declared as “Protected Forest”, the remaining 272,600 ha
remains under the Sindh Board of Revenue. In 1973, Sindh Forest Department transferred 64,400
ha to Port Qasim Authority. In 1999 the total area of mangrove forest with the forest department
is 280,470 ha (Qureshi, 1985).
The study conducted by IUCN-P with coordination of the SUPARCO on “Assessment of
Mangrove Forest along the Coast of Pakistan.” In January 2003 are 86,728 ha. out of which the
mangrove forest along the coast of Sindh are spread over an area of 82,669 ha. 95.32% mangrove
found along the coast of Sindh and 4.68% along the Makran coast, Balochistan. So the significant
loss of the mangrove forest along the coast of Sindh is 262,201 ha. Graph #2.
Graph-2
Mangrove Forest along the Sindh Coast

Port Qasim
Authority
64,400 ha Loss of Mangrove
forest cover ,
262,201
Sindh Forest
Department,
280,470

Sindh Forest Department Port Qasim Authority Loss of Mangrove forest cover

Many coastal wetlands habitats have deteriorated due to the shortage of water supply or discharge
of untreated water in the wetland in the case of Narri and Jabboh lagoon. The increase in salinity
and ultimately the shrinkage of habitat has occurred. These important coastal wetlands also
support the estuarine fisheries and the waterbirds population especially during winters. The
population of Flamingoes has declined due to the shortage of water and changing in the water
chemistry. According to the Sindh Wildlife Department’s waterbirds census in 1990 the
population of Greater Flamingo was estimated 29,493 which reduced up to 1,412 in 2003 and the
threatened species of Lesser Flamingo was estimated 3,150 which declined up to 270 birds in
2003. Table # 1 and Graph# 3
Table- 1 Population of Flamingoes
1990 1991 1992 2001 2002 2003
Greater Flamingo 29,493 49,600 30,214 5,450 4,830 1,412
Lesser Flamingo 3,150 4,500 2,594 300 Nil 270
Graph-3

Reference of the paper: 5


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Population declining of Flamingoes in the Coastal
wetlands

60, 000

50, 000

Population in #
40, 000

30, 000

20, 000

10, 000

1990 1991 1992 2001 2002 2003

Year

Great er Flamingo Lesser Flamingo

2- Less rainfall:
Being an arid country Pakistan receives very less rainfall, about 70% occurs in July to
September. Sindh had faced the severe droughts conditions in last few decades. The recent
drought spell has created the environmental degradation. Many wetlands in the Sindh were
dried and some of them disappeared and many have lost their important ecological character.
With reference to the rainfall data provided by the Meteorological Department Karachi from
1987-2003 the scanty and less rainfall recorded during the year of 1987,1991,1996,2000 and
2002. (Ref-Table #2 & Graphs # 4,5,6,7) Mainly in the month of June, July, August, and
September the highest rainfall were recorded.

Table-2 Rainfall Data of Some Districts of Sindh


Year Badin Hyderabad Karachi Nawabshah
1987 0 15.8 0 0
1988 226 265.3 160 22
1989 318.3 200.7 185.2 130.6
1990 351.7 170.9 137.4 175.4
1991 40 8.5 24.5 53.4
1992 352.1 427.2 273 393.4
1993 196.5 60.9 35.5 50.1
1994 913.9 487.1 481.5 551.7
1995 266.5 95.7 259.8 212.6
1996 28 16.4 99 5.2
1997 154.7 57 150.1 107.3
1998 168.3 49.3 82.4 60.9
1999 208.2 79.4 14.5 20.5
2000 89.8 55 46.9 46
2001 66.8 171.3 100.4 56.5
2002 36.6 9 55.8 4
2003 392 405.6 324.9 339.9

Graph-4

Reference of the paper: 6


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Badin District

1000
900

Precipitation (mm)
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Year

Graph-5
Hyderabad District
600

500
Precipitation (mm)

400

300

200

100

0
1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Year

Graph-6
Karachi District

600

500
Precipitation (mm)

400

300

200

100

0
1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Year

Graph-7
Nawabshah District

600

500
Precipitation (mm)

400

300

200

100

0
1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Year

Reference of the paper: 7


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
2.1 Impact on Wetlands and their Biodiversity:
Although the rainfall is not a major source of water in Sindh; but somehow it has shown the
impact in some cases on wetlands and their biodiversity. When there is a water shortage from the
Indus water supply to the Irrigation canals system, the rainfall is the only source to get the water
in the system. Unfortunately, uneven rainfall pattern in Sindh during last 10 years made the
situation critical. Shrinkage of wetlands habitat is one of the problems; for example in coastal
areas Narri and Jabboh, Inland lakes like DehAkro II, Nara Canal Wetlands Complex has been
clearly effected. Fragmentation of fish habitat is also an affect such as Palla which is now
restricted up to the Kotri barrage and even less than that due to the shortage of water down
stream. All these habitat deterioration takes place in terms of water quality (increase in salinity or
turns into brackish water), directly impact on the major fauna including Waterbirds. Population of
waterbirds at Haleji Lake drastically affected, according to the census in 1992 was 168,645 and it
declined up to 15,393 birds in 2003 (Waterbird census: SWD). The similar situation was seen in
other wetlands of Sindh, at Narri and Jabboh 141,147 waterbirds were recorded in 1992 and they
declined up to 17,428 in 2003. Table #
3 - Over Extraction of Ground Water:
Estimated ground water resources for the Sindh province varies between 16 to 20 Bm3 with an
estimated safe yield between 5.4 to 10Bm3. Groundwater abstraction for agriculture has been
roughly estimated at 6.2 Bm³/year. Over 50% of the village water supply is obtained through
hand pumps installed by private households. In saline groundwater areas, irrigation canals are the
main source of domestic water. More than 78% of the irrigated land in Sindh is underlain with
saline or brackish water, which is unfit for agriculture. The shortage of irrigation water coupled
with drought conditions in Sindh and the unreliability of the canal water has increased the
importance of exploitation of groundwater wherever fresh water is available. Fresh groundwater
is found mostly in a strip parallel to the left bank of Indus River and some pockets in other areas.
Reliable data on extent of groundwater use in the province is not available. There are about
53,862 tube wells in Sindh. Of these 12,038 are public tube wells and 41,824 are in the private
sector, though other unofficial estimates put the number of private tube wells much higher. The
present number of tube wells is likely to be more than 70,000. (Draft Working paper of Sindh
Water Vision-NDP).
Table- 3 Tube wells in Sindh
Year Public Private Total
1999-2000 8,470 25,191 33,661
2000-2001 9,689 27,502 37,191
2001-2002 12,038 41,824 53,862
Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan.
3.1 Impact on Wetland Ecosystem:
Wetlands perform the function of recharging of groundwater. Over abstraction of ground water
has another negative impact on wetlands of Sindh. As given in the table # 3 that the number of
tube wells increasing day by day and the quality of ground water leading from freshwater to
brackish and saline, table # 4 high evaporation rate and low rainfall has created direct impact on
the water quality of the wetlands.

Table - 4
Canal Commands and Quality of Shallow Groundwater in the Sindh Province
Canal Barrage Command Area (mha) Percent Area
Freshwater Brackish (>3000 ppm)
Begari Feeder Guddu 0.340 50.0 50.0

Reference of the paper: 8


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Ghotki Feeder “ 0.368 50.0 50.0
North West Canal Sukkur 0.309 15.0 85.0
Rice Canal " 0.210 22.0 78.0
Dadu Canal " 0.244 16.0 84.0
Khairpur West Canal " 0.195 100.0 0.0
Khairpur East Canal " 0.182 0.0 100.0
Rohri Canal " 1.045 55.0 45.0
Nara Canal " 0.883 0.0 100.0
Kalri Baghar Feeder Kotri 0.257 0.0 100.0
Lined Channel " 0.22 0.0 100.0
Fuleli Canal " 0.361 0.0 100.0

Data: WAPDA, 1979.


Discussion:
Impact of water scarcity on the wetlands ecosystem has been creating many ecological and
environmental losses. As there are three means of water availability which are river, rainfall and
ground water and all of them are linked with each other in terms of water availability or scarcity.
Usually the river gets water from the melted glaciers of the mountains. The regular rainfall
pattern helps the river in maintaining the river flow throughout the country. The ground water is
linked with the river plains of Indus. The wetlands in Sindh get water from the irrigation canals
directly and indirectly therefore if the irrigation water shortage occurs, this happened to have
severe impact on wetlands too.
The ecological changes of wetlands can be observed throughout the province. There are many
indicators including waterbirds that are totally dependent on wetlands health. The gradually
declining of waterbirds population as shown in the table # 5 and graph # 8 establish the fact that
there are less water in the wetlands that might be due to many reasons like reduction of water
supply in the irrigation canals2, discrete rainfall pattern and increased ground water utilisation for
agriculture and domestic purposes. The effect of dry spell on wetlands remain for many years,
even if rainfall occurs in a year then mostly the water absorbed by the land and rate of
evaporation is also increased and there is not significant benefit to wetland ecosystem. This will
in turn impact the gradual change of ecological characteristics of wetland ecosystem. This result
in gradually decrease in biodiversity of wetlands such as birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates
and aquatic plants etc. There are many causes of wetlands habitat destruction in which the main
cause is the less water which could be through the canal water supply, less rain fall and over
abstraction of ground water.
This can be explained as the Indus River has not good record of water flow in past 10-15 years or
more, on the other hand the developmental projects like the construction of barrages and dams are
launched; and the new irrigation canals are made in the fertile plains of Indus i.e. pre Taunsa
barrage, so the maximum available water in the drought period used in the agriculture sector to
compensate the food demand of the country. In parallel the uneven pattern of rainfall which is
also the secondary source of water for Indus River causing the water situation critical. In addition
the third factor which is the ground water becomes over harvested for many purposes. In this
context of wetlands degradation scenario, the wetlands habitat shrinks first and wherever the
water is available in little quantity in any wetlands body, this causes degradation of water quality.
Further the high evaporation rate and temperature leads the higher salinity which kills the lower
organisms in the lake or wetlands. Thus wetlands ecosystem is disturbed and the micro fauna and
flora gradually dies off or become less. The food availability for the waterbirds which are
dependent on the micro fauna and flora disappear or not available in sufficient quantity.

2
Mostly wetlands are formed with due course of irrigation canal seepage and taking water from the irrigation canals directly or
indirectly.

Reference of the paper: 9


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
In this study I have tried to relate that the declination of waterbirds population is not just due to
the two to three years scarcity of water; as we can see that in the good rainfall year table # 2 the
waterbirds population table # 5 did not improve as in the previous years but rather it becomes
worst e.g in the Narri, Jabboh, Haleji and Drigh lakes. The waterbirds population is declining in a
continuous manner which was due to the previous long dry spell in the country; although rainfall
data is higher in some years but it is not regular.

It is concluded that if we need to restore the waterbirds population in our wetlands in Sindh we
need a regular pattern of rainfall and restore the favourable ecological conditions for waterbirds.
Issue of water availability should made regular for important wetland areas whether to conserve
the water from agriculture waste water and check over abstraction of ground water in the
wetlands areas. There is a strong need of conservation of groundwater aquifers and also
sustainable utilisation of agriculture water and groundwater.

Table-5 Counts of Waterbirds Population at some important Wetlands of Sindh. 1987-2003

Year Haleji Keenjhar Hadero Drigh Hamal Manchar Lungh Deh Akro II Pugri Narri and Jabboh
19,41
1987 68,868 136,192 49,201 2,791 NS 48 39 NS 8 NS
103,16 17,44 37,67
1988 1 194,941 55,423 2 28,044 17,692 197 NS 9 NS
15,38 46,83
1989 96,124 128,161 64,386 9 NS 701 40 NS 8 94,629
101,35 44,14 36,48
1990 1 89,784 37,977 4 NS 1,212 10 NS 8 139,883
60,28
1991 79,377 98,498 82,231 6 61,783 45,306 23,294 35,266 9,408 73,965
168,64 39,70 24,80
1992 5 140,204 81,316 7 61,231 1,719 20,393 10,002 5 141,147
1993 NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
1994 126,09 112,772 49,708 47,72 63,420 23,413 50,981 85,556 62 NS

Reference of the paper: 10


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
3 0
1995 NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
1996 NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
1997 NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
1998 28,190 35,974 11,915 4,549 13,348 NS 21,108 NS 2,979 NS
10,45
1999 53,936 21,842 34,225 5 14,403 32,116 14,832 NS 8,702 NS
12,44
2000 68,594 30,220 12,137 2 16,103 31,852 18,093 NS NS NS
2001 44,931 38,958 12,738 7,771 5,641 10,471 30,610 NS 9,880 67,563
10,75
2002 39,258 30,610 13,644 5 6,620 8,560 24,835 NS 7,363 64,709
2003 15,393 15,952 1,154 9,411 12,943 6,287 20,286 NS 2,448 17,428
NS= Not surveyed.

Reference of the paper: 11


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Graph-8
Waterbirds fluctation at some important wetlands of Sindh

250,000

200,000
Population #

150,000

100,000

50,000

0
1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1994 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Year

Haleji Keenjhar Hadero Drigh Hamal


Manchar Lungh DehAkro II Pugri Narri & Jabboh

Reference of the paper: 12


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of
Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. September
2004.Pg 173-184.
References:

• Brohi, Sikander. Livelihood Resources downstream Kotri barrage. Seminar on Indus flow
Downstream Kotri Barrage-Need or Wastage? 2003 Pp:9.
• IUCN-P & SUPARCO A study on Assessment of Mangrove Forest along the Coast of
Pakistan. 2003.
• K.Najam et al, Wetlands Action Plan- WWF-Pakistan 2000.
• Ramsar Convention Bureau, Wetlands and biological diversity, with considerable input from
Dr David Stone, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). © Ramsar Convention, October 1996.
• Shine, C., & de Klemm, C. (1999). Wetlands, water, and the law: Using law to advance
wetland conservation and wise use (IUCN environmental policy and law paper no. 38).
Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
• “Sindh Water Vision” Working Paper Final Draft –NDP; 2003.
• V.Najam, Conservation and Rehabilitation of Indus Delta Mangroves by Sindh Forest
Department. Proc. Of the National Seminar on mangrove Ecosystem Dynamics of the Indus
Delta. 14-16, 1999, organised by Sindh Forest & Wildlife Department & The World Bank.
• World Commission on Dams Pakistan Chapter June - 2000.

Data Sources:
1: Sindh Wildlife Department- Waterbirds Census Record.
2: The Meteorological Department Govt. of Pakistan- Rainfall Data Record.

Reference of the paper: 13


“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Reference of the paper: 14
“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the
Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th
January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
September 2004.Pg 173-184.
Reference of the paper: 15
“Impact of Water Scarcity on the Wetlands of Sindh”, Jabeen.R, Proceedings of the Seminar “Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact of
Water Scarcity in Sindh” 15th - 16th January 2004. Organised by M.A Kazi Institute of Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. September
2004.Pg 173-184.