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The devastating floods that swept through Pakistan in 2022 not only resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and the destruction of countless homes but also triggered a persistent water crisis that continues to plague the country. The impact of the floods severely damaged water pipeline systems, leaving over 5.4 million people, including 2.5 million children, with no choice but to rely on the polluted water of local ponds and wells

This contaminated water is a breeding ground for waterborne diseases, putting more than 10 million individuals in flood-affected areas at risk of illness. Since July 2022, a staggering number of over 660,000 people have reported extreme cases of conditions such as acute diarrhea, typhoid, malaria, and dengue. The lives of impoverished community members, especially children, are in peril as they are particularly vulnerable to contracting these diseases.

Moreover, studies have shown that unsafe water and poor sanitation are key underlying causes of malnutrition worldwide. In Pakistan’s flood-affected regions, over 1.5 million young boys and girls are already suffering from severe malnutrition, and this number is expected to rise exponentially due to the increased vulnerability to waterborne diseases caused by the floods. The vicious cycle of malnutrition and infection perpetuated by unsafe water and improper sanitation has created a health crisis within impoverished communities across the country.

Recognizing the urgency of this situation, UNICEF has been working tirelessly to provide safe drinking water to over 1.2 million children and families, along with distributing hygiene kits to 1.3 million individuals. Efforts are also underway to rebuild water supply facilities for more than 450,000 people in the affected areas.

However, despite these commendable initiatives, a significant portion of the affected population continues to suffer from a lack of sustainable access to clean water for drinking and proper sanitation. It is crucial, therefore, to invest in climate-resilient drinking water supplies in Pakistan and explore the use of renewable technologies such as solar pumping systems.

Several charitable organizations in the country are already undertaking such work, with Bondh E Shams leading the way in innovative water management solutions. Bondh E Shams, also known as the Solar Water Project, is a Pakistani water charity that leverages innovation and technology to empower communities affected by water contamination resulting from climate change-related events like floods.

By bringing technological innovation and infrastructure to the forefront of climate-resilient adaptation, Bondh E Shams develops purpose-built technologies that have a positive impact. To date, the organization has provided over 130 million cups of clean water through 97 community water projects across 9 countries.

In Pakistan, Bondh E Shams has successfully reached thousands of low-income communities that are most vulnerable to water contamination and lack the necessary resources and infrastructure to cope with climate-related effects. Their innovative OASIS box, which combines solar energy with water filtration, effectively purifies polluted water from local wells and ponds—the primary sources of water for surrounding communities. Deploying the OASIS box is a quick process, taking less than seven minutes, and it offers a durable, long-lasting, and renewable solution for delivering clean water to those in need.

Hamza Furrukh, the founder of Bondh E Shams, emphasizes the organization’s commitment to data connectivity through remote monitoring technologies and donor transparency. This approach ensures effective tracking of the impact generated by their solar power boxes. By accessing real-time data directly from communities, Bondh E Shams provides stakeholders and donors with clear visibility into the transformative power of their contributions. This radical transparency bridges the gap between donors and the communities they seek to support.

Scalable and innovative solutions like the OASIS boxes have the potential to save millions of lives by turning polluted water into clean drinking water. In Pakistan, a country ravaged by floods and other adverse climate impacts, ensuring water sanitation and disease prevention are paramount. However, such endeavors require sustainable financing to create a significant and lasting impact. If we recognize the privilege of having access to our next drink of clean water, it is imperative that we take action decisively and donate generously.

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