BAHAWALPUR: A seven-year plan has been approved by the South Punjab secretariat for livestock and dairy production to provide potable water to the human and cattle populations in the Cholistan.

Solar-powered water filtration-cum-treatment plants will be built at existing brackish and saline water wells, South Punjab Livestock Secretary Aftab Peerzada told Dawn on Monday.

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Tanveer Jhandhir, Additional Secretary, said it was regrettable that in today’s world, humans and livestock were drinking water from open ponds. The Cholistan desert spans 6.6 million acres of barren land and dunes, home to 2.5 million people and 1.4 million animals (camels, cows, sheep, and goats).

He estimated that each plant will cost Rs1.5 million. He mentioned that the department would use its resources as well as the assistance of philanthropists to achieve its goals. The department’s ability to prepare for the construction of other plants would be aided by the success of the trial plant.

100 wells were operational with solar-powered machines, according to Cholistan Livestock Director Raza Abbasi.

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