Hanna Lake, one of the most visited lakes of Balochistan, had dried up because of drought-like conditions last year.
This year, the region has received plenty of rain, refilling the Hanna lake and attracting a large number of nearby residents and local tourists. People also took boat rides around the lake to enjoy the pleasant weather.
“We used to visit Hanna Lake often years ago for picnics when this place was the most beautiful attraction of Quetta city. It was one of my favourite childhood memories which has been revived today after rains,” says Sabra Ahmad, a resident.
The lake is located around 17km away from Quetta city near Urak Valley. Nestled in the midst of mountains, Quetta’s historic tourist point which was once famous for its beautiful scenery, presented a deserted look a few days ago.
Hanna Lake started drying up last year due to drought because of which many fish had died and birds migrating from Siberia had flown away.
The natural cycle of rainfall has been severely affected as a result of deforestation, climate change and less seasonal rainfall, according to environmentalists.
“Drought is a serious issue in Quetta. As we have no expectation from the government, our only hope is rain,” says Brashna Kasi, a local citizen who shared the idyllic picture of the lake on Twitter.
Photos of the glistening lake, shared on social media, fascinated many nature lovers from across Pakistan. “These photos have brought back a lot of beautiful memories of the time when I visited this lake with my family. But that was 15 years ago. Now, I am planning to go again soon,” Haaris Mustafa, a resident of Islamabad and avid traveller, told Gulf News.
Locals believe tourism would be revived in the area now that the lake has been restored. Small shops and restaurants have also sprung up to cater to the growing number of visitors.
Water sports, including rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rowing and boating, used to be s regular event in Balochistan since 1989. These competitions were annual attraction at Hanna Lake, held every year in March till November, before the winter season, but had been discontinued since the lake dried up.
“We had to stop organising sports events as the lake had dried up, but the rain is promising for the business,” Hayat Durrani, the head of the local Water Sports Academy, told local media.
The century-old Hanna Lake was constructed by the British in 1908 to combat a lack of water in the area by conserving water and re-charging the Karezes (an ancient irrigation system) through springs located in nearby mountains and to provide water for agricultural purposes. The lake was spread over an area of 818 acres with a holding capacity of over 220 million gallons of water and a depth of 49 feet.
Surrounded by the mountains and beautiful scenery, the lake is the star attraction of the Quetta city.