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CDA oblivious to water crisis

ISLAMABAD, April 5: Despite warning by a British consultancy company – Mott MacDonald – about eight years back that water losses in Islamabad stood at 50 per cent, the city managers have failed to take steps to resolve the water crisis in the city.

“The current water consumption in the city is around 150 million gallon per day (mgd) and we are supplying almost 70mgd. Several thousand households remain short of supply because of line losses or unaccounted for water (UFW),” said an official close to the development.

He said city`s main source of water was Simly Dam where the water level stood at 2,281.3 feet on April 5 against its maximum capacity of about 2,315 feet.

Since taking over the charge, the incumbent CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi has been claiming that he would resolve the concerns related to water shortage in the city. However, so far he has failed to improve the situation.

“The CDA management first failed to have a new UFW study conducted to know the latest situation and then could not pursue the PC-I of the Rs11 billion project aimed to overhaul the water network. The PC-1 is pending with the Planning Commission for the last over two years,” said the official.

The PC-I prepared by CDA was meant to plug water losses, install meters at residential/commercial units and completely end water contamination besides maintaining a smooth supply.

The official said water shortage was now a serious concern in several sectors, including F-6, F-7, I-8, F-11 and F-10.

He said almost 300 illegal connections had been marked for an inquiry and action by the enforcement division but political pressure forced the civic body not to take action against them.

The official said most of the illegal water connections and theft was reported from Bhara Kahu, a stronghold of the ruling PPP, which falls under the jurisdiction of Islamabad capital territory administration. With all these water problems, the authority is left with no other option but to go for water rationing, he added.

When contacted, a senior official in CDA water wing claimed: “Less rains during the winter season was one of the main reasons for water rationing.” He, however, said the Simly Dam had enough water to meet the summer needs.The official claimed that there would be no water crisis this summer because they would increase supply every month till July when the monsoon season would start.

“We are working on cutting illegal connections but still UFW is much higher,” he admitted, adding: “water has always remained our priority and the chairman is still very much focused on resolving the problem.”

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