Water Buffalo - The Dr. Rifat Hussain Story

WB Started 208 WB Dam 208 WB Bait 208
How it got started Dam Water The Bait...Well Digging

Climate change is affecting people's lives all over the world.  If you would like to see how a 79 year-old retired South Dakota surgeon, Dr. Rifat Hussain, is helping to bring fresh, clean water to the tens of thousands of villagers in his native Pakistan click on the images above.

Water-is-Life 400Dr. Hussain is available to speak about his project to your organization, club or group.  Click here to view.

Contact him at:  


Water: Two Billion Are Dying For It!

To be born with a thirst is a blessing but to die of one is a tragedy. The thirst to grow, to learn, to prosper and to be productive is a basic human right, justifiably taken for granted by those living in developed countries. However, a vast majority of the World's population is overwhelmingly occupied by a different kind of thirst - many do not have clean water for drinking, cooking and sanitation. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) people forced to drink dirty and contaminated water are easy prey to 'diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio' to name a few. WHO estimates that just under 500,000 diarrhoeal deaths occur each year - caused by drinking contaminated water! A sobering way to think about this is, 1400 people per day get very ill and lose their lives simply because of the water they drink!

From Hussain's diary:  First Trip - 2020

Dams -


While climbing up and down the hills I came across a few spots where the rain water flows into the Kabul river.

I suggested to the locals that they ought to built a dam for a rain water reservoir which would be of great help.

They said that the govt does not help them. I replied that the place is there, stones are there and they can do the hard work themselves .

They said we do not know how.I said perhaps I can be of  help to them.

Yesterday, I spent a whole day down in the ravine, designing, planning, measuring, selecting the construction staff. 5 workers were selected with 7 more volunteers.

We started work this morning and we hope to complete the dam in 10 days.

When completed, it will store 300,000 litres of rain water. That will help them with raising crops, provide water for wild life and perhaps raise fish.


An ultimate compliment was paid to me by one of the tribesman with tears in his eyes-




“      You are almost 80 years old and do not have a lot of time left. The tragedy of our lives is that you did not come to us ten years ago “ end of quote.


It is perhaps those whose tongues are dry and throats parched who understand fully what this cliché means, 'water is the stuff of life'. Giving someone access to clean water near their home is the cheapest and most life changing intervention we can do to break the tyranny of death and disease that unsafe water inflicts upon millions of people. We can reasonably agree that potable water is the giver and sustainer of life and everyone should have access to it. Dreams, hopes and aspirations of little boys and girls must not be extinguished by drinking contaminated water and nor should they have to travel long distances to collect a bucket of life extinguishing water. 

From Hussain's diary:  First Trip

Dams -


1. Dam # 1.


10 ft high,11 foot wide at the base and 6 foot wide at the top and 27 foot long


Approx weight of the structure....between 70 to 100 tons....based on calculation that one cubic foot of Granite / or Slate weighs about 160 pounds.


Formula for calculation of the weight is based on the weight of the volume of a Trapezoid Prism.-
                          ( V(L,B,H=LH(A+B)/2


2. Dam # 2.


About 160 feet down stream from Dam # 1 in the same river bed.


7 foot wide, 6 foot high and  about 20 feet long.


We plan to built a 3rd and 4th dam downstream in the same river bed again to save rain water but that has to wait for another 6 months.


Have started on DAM-2 about 150 feet downstream from the first. It will be about 10 feet high and will facilitate rain water conservation by forming the second water reservoir.


A proposal was made to NAME the dam  after me-( why does a dam need a name anyway- which I strongly REJECTED. 

I do not wish to have anything to do with that.


The land belongs to the tribesmen, the stones are their's and it is they who built it with their own hard labour.


It is they who deserve all the credit and rightly so. I merely shared my knowledge.


A lot of the Tribesmen are interested in coming out to see what is being done but I have made sure that they come after I have left.


I think it might help after the rains come and the reservoirs are filled  for 6 tube wells have been drilled on this trip of mine-( 7th on the day I left)-. Its not much but I am reminded of the old Persian saying-


Many Drops of water make up the river

In 2003, on World Environment day, the theme was "Water: Two Billion People Are Dying For It!" - things today are not much better; in 2019, the UN estimated that 2.2 billion people were not able to access managed drinking water services. If you think this problem is too big for you to take a shot at, then you are simply abandoning a wonderful and gratifying opportunity to allow all children the right kind of thirst - the thirst for living, dreaming and achieving. The fight back can begin with something as simple as funding a well for a community somewhere in the world. You can help make water a giver of life again - you can make a difference.

From Hussain's diary:  First Trip - 2020

Once this dam is finished and the reservoir filled with rain water. this news will spread in FATA and each and every tribesman will want to be able to do the same thing...... then it might be the time to look for more resources such as the KPK govt might provide. 

Right now my sources in the govt: tell me there is no money


Finally whats in it for me..a very valid question.


First I have always tried to live my life based on William Blake's quartet from his Songs of Innocence.


To see a world in a grain of sand

and heaven in a wild flower

To hold infinity in the palm of your hand and 

eternity in an hour.


I am very lucky to be able to help them at 79 yrs of age and am rewarded (enough) by the smiles on the faces and in their eyes -(of these notorious wild tribesmen)- has made me young again.


Next:  The Bait...Well Digging