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Islamabad: Capital residents start worrying about water shortage

With summer approaching, the residents of capital already appear worried about the water supply, as its shortage has remained an irritant for them throughout the winter.

Until a few years ago, the problem used to arise only during the warmer months when the groundwater table receded due to rise in temperature and increased use of water.

Making repeated phone calls for water bowsers and the long wait is common in summer, especially for those living in some of the older sectors. Charges for a full tanker are Rs100 whereas the private ones cost Rs300 to 400 per supply.

Keeping in mind the past experiences, many households have opted for boring this year, although the Capital Development Authority (CDA) does not permit this. Officials point out that water extracted through boring further decreases the underground water level that is one of the main sources of water supply to the city.

The existing sources of water for urban Islamabad comprise rain and groundwater, whereas the main water sources of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) are Simly Dam on River Soan and Khanpur Dam on River Korang and the tubewells.

The boring is on in several areas that face water shortage in summer, including G, F and I sectors. Residents fed up with the irregular supplies believe that it is their right to go for boring. “I don’t see any solution to the water shortage in the near future so it is better to do something on our own instead of facing the same problem during the summer months,” said Hassan Tahir. In addition to paying regular water bills, Tahir spent Rs60,000 on boring.

According to a survey, around 40 percent of the total water available for the capital is wasted due to leaking supply lines. And with the CDA having completed 40 percent work on launch of 10 new sectors, the problem of water shortage is expected to go acute in the days ahead.

However, to address the issue this summer, Capital Development Authority has enhanced the number of water tankers from 32 to 40. “We plan to increase this number to 80 by issuing licenses to private firms,” Director General Water Management Sanaullah Aman told ‘The News’ on Monday.

He said that with such a large fleet of tankers, the CDA would be able to attend 2,500 complaints each day whereas the maximum number of complaints received during summer was 1,500 daily.

“On the directives of the CDA chairman, the water management department has formed a task force comprising six members that includes two assistant directors,” he pointed out. “The task force will be on duty for 24 hours and be responsible for responding to any complaint within 10 minutes,” he said.

The Capital Development Authority is set to extend its services to model villages from March 1. “The task force will be stationed at the F-5 water reservoir and the CDA would soon be issuing the complaint number of the task force,” he said.

Aman said that CDA was working on an emergency basis to replace damaged water lines before summer. “We have set a target of replacing 20 leaking water lines before March 30,” he said, disclosing that the number of complaints had already come down from 1000 to 400 daily. The Capital Development Authority also plans to convert its main water treatment plants into visitor-friendly places through landscaping and providing attraction to children.

Source: The News

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