In absence of urgent measures twin cities to face Karachi-like water crisis in a couple of years

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Underground water level in Islamabad, Pindi fast going down

Zubair Qureshi

Water supply situation to Islamabad and Rawalpindi is worsening with each passing day and if necessary measures are taken it is going to turn into a Karachi-like water crisis in the days to come.
The underground water level in Islamabad is going down dangerously and it is feared that the residents of the twin cities would be left without water in about a decade. Currently, the residents of Federal Capital sectors including I-10 and G-10 are facing acute water shortage for past many weeks. Sources stated that the residents of I-10/1, I-10/4, G-10/3 and G-10/4 are not getting their share of water. They have no option but to buy water from CDA water tankers.
The sources said that the underground water level is depleting due to fewer rains and excessive extraction of underground water by the fast expanding federal capital through tube wells and hand pumps. Not only Rawalpindi, Islamabad too is facing acute water shortage and water level and quality both have gone down at the Rawal Lake and the Rawal Dam.
In Pindi too, city and Cantt areas both, the civic bodies including RCB and CCB are left with only one month to supply to the city. Water in Khanpur Dam has dried completely which is the main source of supply. Similarly, the level of underground water is also receding fast.
Because of this reason, tube wells in certain localities of Islamabad, Pindi and Cantt areas are failing to supply water. According to one local official in Pindi, the RCB is trying its best to provide water to its consumers, however, due to shortfall of rains and dry weather water has fallen considerably in dams and fallen beyond the dead level in Khanpur Dam.
“It is a natural calamity. Owing to the present situation of water crisis persisting, the consumers are advised not to waste even a single drop of water. The citizens are advised to use little water for washing clothes, not to use it for cleaning floors or vehicles because of crisis like situation,” he added.
People as well as the civic bodies’ officials have called for constructing more and more dams to avert drought like situation in the next 7 to 10 years. On one hand, the civic bodies claim about water shortage, but, on the other hand, the private tanker mafia has sufficient water to supply to the people through tankers.
Taking full opportunity of the situation of water shortage, the private tanker mafia have further enhanced the charges of water tankers from Rs1200 to Rs1500 and Rs1800 which is beyond the reach of citizens to pay four or five times in a month particularly poor and middle class people.
Meanwhile, some parts of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and city including Imambara Mohalla, Mohalla Kareempura, Mohalla Raja Sultan, Krishanpura, Bhabra Bazaar, Committee Chowk, Pirwadhai, Afshan Colony, Peoples Colony, Masrial Road, Dhoke Syedan, Bakra Mandi and other areas are facing water scarcity.
The residents of these areas complained that they do not get adequate water supply as its consumption increases many time in summer season and water scarcity come up every year.
Crowd can be seen at water filtration plants because several areas were reported without water for many days but the authorities concerned are making just verbal claims of sufficient supply and even providing water by tankers also.
The residents of different areas suffer most as they had to buy water from the tanker mafia who charged them at their will in the holy month of Ramazan.
The owners demanded Rs800 to Rs1,000 for a water tanker, which was supplied for Rs500 before the shortage. Now, the holy month is over yet water level is receding and we are left at the mercy of the water tanker mafia, said Zafar a resident in the Rehman Abad.

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