Water shortage in twin cities

THERE is acute water shortage in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the situation is worsening day by day because of negligible rains that have no impact on the underground water table or increase in water reservoirs like Rawal Dam, Simly Dam and Khanpur Dam which are drying up rapidly. Residents of the Federal Capital are getting just 60 million gallons of water per day against daily requirements of 110 MGD. The situation is more grave in Rawalpindi where the authorities say they have reserves just to meet requirements for two three days and tanker service is also ineffective due to drying up of many tube wells.
It is known to all that the situation has worsened due to long dry spell but its impact could have been mitigated if timely measures were taken by the administration and civic agencies of the two cities for water conservation and storage. Topography of the twin cities and their suburbs provides wide options for creation of new storage facilities at different places to conserve rain and stream water but we have been sleeping over the ideas and plans for the purpose. Such storage facilities would have helped meet increasing water supply requirements in view of rapidly increasing population besides raising the underground water table. There are reports that the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad has decided to launch a new project for an integrated water management system for stopping water from being wasted and improving supply. No details are available but this should include construction of mini dams around the city and replacement of old supply and distribution lines as 30% water is reportedly lost due to broken lines and theft. It is also time for the Federal Government to push forward the plan for supply of water to the twin cities from Ghazi Barotha. An awareness campaign should also be launched to sensitise people about critical shortage and the need for conservation.

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