The province of Sindh’s legislative body recently made amendments to the Water Management Bill 2018 that will allow equal representation to women in 45,000 watercourse associations, 14 water boards, and about 350 farmer organizations.
The road to this historic change was laced with many challenges however the revision was much needed and long due.
Landowner Dhani Bux from district Badin commented that for decades we have been fighting for resources and demanding for an equal share in water distribution specifically for irrigating the far-off lands of the region.
They have struggled and faced scarcity on several occasions ultimately leaving their crops barren and destroyed, suffering a major blow, destroying their sole source of income leading to many leaving their homes and forced to migrate.
Such circumstances have given rural women an active role in on-farm and off-farm activities. It has increased their work burden and responsibilities and are now more involved in crop production, from sowing to harvesting and all other stages.
Farzana remarked that we know the lands better than the men and can decide what suitable and appropriate measures can be taken to yield the best results.
The water network in the area consists of 3 barrages, 14 main canals, and almost 40,000 field outlets which is a key pillar of the agricultural economy. This massive system of distributaries has been serving as a lifeline for the people for the last century.
Advocate Abida Samoo said that previously women did not have a say but now they can use their voice to fight for their rights and is sure that once they get onboard water distribution will be done more efficiently and effectively than before and everyone will get an adequate amount of water supply.
Women are now elated that they get to be a part of the farmer organizations and be sought out to seek insight into what is the most appropriate course of action and how to execute it.