In the north of Pakistan, the breathtaking Himalayan, Karakorum, and Hindu Kush mountain ranges meet. However, behind the region’s picturesque scenery lies a harsh reality. For its 1.9 million inhabitants, water is an extremely scarce resource. To many this region is known as the "vertical desert".
The communities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC) face an array of challenges stemming from the shortage of water. Limited access to clean drinking water has led to health issues, while the inability to irrigate crops has caused food insecurity. The lack of economic opportunities resulting from the inability to grow cash crops or trees for construction purposes has kept some communities – especially the most remote – locked in a cycle of poverty. Climate change is only adding to their woes.