Rumour and conjecture can often come into play whenever a region is going through a period of development. That’s certainly the case of the international port city in Gwadar, Pakistan, and one of the aims of this section is to lay down the facts in answer to some unsubstantiated stories.
One common theme is in regard to the water and some suggestions that there is, or may potentially be, a shortage of this vital commodity in Gwadar. We’ll therefore take this opportunity to put the record straight.
Is there any substance to stories relating to water shortages in Gwadar?
What we can’t deny is that there have been a few isolated stories relating to water shortages but what we can do is look to allay fears of current and potential investors. Firstly, it has to be acknowledged that Gwadar does face challenges in terms of water supply. The natural location and underlying weather conditions can lead to long periods without rainfall.
So, to answer that opening question, there is some substance to stories relating to issues surrounding water supply but, as we will see in the next section, they are certainly being addressed.
What has Gwadar done to boost water supply?
In the recent past, tankers were driven in from the Meerani Dam in Kech. That provided a form of solution but eventually that became unworkable for two main reasons. Firstly, those tankers drained too much fuel and in time, the supplies from the Dam began to dwindle, reaching critical levels.
In 2018, China stepped in with some more positive and sustainable news. Along with a series of projects being carried out in Gwadar, China’s Overseas Holding Company signed an agreement with the Balochistan government whereby they committed to supply 300,000 gallons of clean drinking water every day. There was a cost to Pakistan but at a heavily subsidised rate of 80 paisa per gallon, China’s solution was far more sustainable and cost effective.
What new developments are underway to tackle potential water shortages?
By its very nature, a port is surrounded by water: It’s seawater of course so its functions will be limited unless it goes through a process of desalination. That’s why some potential investors who might have been concerned over potential water shortages should have been reassured over the developments of March 30, 2019.
That was an important day in the history of Gwadar for many reasons: At Gwadar Expo 2019, the primary objective for Prime Minister Imran Khan was to kick off construction of the city’s international airport but it was confirmed, at the same time, that Gwadar would receive a vital desalination plant. There have been other production plants in the past but with technology improving, the new building is expected to be far more efficient.
To summarise, the natural landscape of Gwadar can lead to challenges for water supply but both Pakistan and China have risen effectively to those questions and the solutions are addressing things in a far more comprehensive manner than in the past.