Lahore's canal is a blessing for the city. There are few cities in the world that are adorned by a canal passing through the middle and for a hot climate the tranquil waters become the paramount recreation not only for the persons playing with water but for the many commuters passing along the beautiful roads that run parallel to it.
Lahoris love their canal. Many of the men would have jumped into it sometime in their youth. The jam-packed canal in hot summers give us an idea about how much recreation it is providing to Lahoris free of cost. During the Spring Festival the beautifully decorated canal provides a visual treat to the thousands of persons who pass along its dual carriageway.
With little effort we can harness this tremendous gift of nature to beautify and enrich our city. There are numerous spots along the canal that can be converted into Water Parks which can provide an ideal recreation to the whole city particularly in the sizzling summers. Fortunately, we have ample space on both the banks and at some selected point we can expand the canal about the size of a cricket ground that can be used for a variety of water sports and recreation. This small lake will tremendously add to the beauty of Lahore and water sports like swimming, boating, water polo will promote a healthy sports and recreation culture in Lahore.
The wide green belts on both sides of the canal can absorb the expansion of road to accommodate the lake. In this way the commuters on these busy roads will also enjoy and refresh themselves while passing along the lake.
As a long distance swimmer and a qualified sea diver, I can safely say that Lahore's canal is a safe canal. Its average depth is 5 feet that does not pose any grave danger even to the non swimmers. However, safety precautions i.e. life jackets and life guards make open swimming absolutely safe and enjoyable. By implementing this culture, Lahore can provide a working model of water safety for the rest of the country.
If the project becomes successful, similar water parks can be constructed after every few kilometer on the 17 km long canal. A water park exclusive for ladies may also be built as there are very few water based recreation opportunities for them. A large lake can be developed over the BRB canal which has wide open spaces along its banks.
Water based leisure activities are very common in Europe and the USA. In spite of the cold weather, people in large numbers enjoy these activities that provide an ideal relaxation to a large number of people. Bathing in mud based natural water is good for the body, spa's and mud baths are increasingly becoming popular due to their healthy and vitalizing effect. In our country gifted by nature with abundant water resources, this activity can be promoted with little effort.
Canal water parks shall also raise awareness for keeping our canals and rivers clean. Lahore canal gets the attention of many environmentalists and they may be invited to join hands with government to make it a model of cleanliness and beauty.
Pakistan has been gifted by an abundance of water resources. Our canal system is the largest in the world and our dams and headworks are scattered all along the country. We have tremendous potential to develop water tourism with little cost and little effort. An initiative by Lahore's development authorities will result in the promotion of water recreation throughout the country InshAllah.