Parched soil

The province of Balochistan and parts of Sindh province of Pakistan are in the grip of a drought. This is likely to affect cotton, rice and sugarcane crops, the mainstay of the country's agrarian economy.

Experts say lack of rain is not the main reason for water shortage in Pakistan. "Water availability is low primarily because of water theft and its inefficient use in farms. Water loss during distribution and drought are only secondary reasons,' says Hussaini Jagirdar, a development economist and an agricultural expert. Faulty management, theft and seepage need to be urgently addressed, he adds.

Drought conditions While the western part of Balochistan suffers from severe drought, other parts of the province together with Sindh, face moderate drought. "We are in the first category of a meteorological drought with last year's winter rainfall being 40 per cent below normal in the two provinces, which receive monsoons during winters,' says Qamar-uz-Zaman Choudhry, director-general of the meteorological department. A meteorological drought is declared when the rains are less than normal.

Another type of drought