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People fear water shortage, CDA feels otherwise

As the weather is changing with the promise of a sizzling summer in the months to come the residents of the federal capital are once again preparing to confront a water crisis like yester years.

However, the people entrusted with the job in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for ensuring a smooth and sufficient supply of drinking water to the citizens seem confident that they are in much comfortable position this year to deal with the growing demand of water supply during the hot summer months.

The Senior Director (Water Supply) in the CDA, Shahid Sohail, while talking to ‘The News’ said that not only the ‘Water Wing’ of the authority is maintaining a steady and sufficient supply of water to the residents at present but promised that they would enhance the supply as the demand will grow during the hot summer months from Simly Dam, one of the largest source of drinking water supply to the federal capital.

The Simly Dam has an optimum level of water supply as high as 32 million gallons per day (MGD). However, at present 21 MGD is being drawn from the reservoir into the treatment plants for onward supply to the residents.

The Simly Dam has an optimum storage capacity of 2315 feet above sea level. On Wednesday (April 6, 2011) the Simly Dam level stood at 2,280.90 feet above sea level and the dead level of the reservoir is 2,233 feet above sea level.

In addition to the present 21 MGD being drawn from Simly Dam the CDA is pumping 28 MGD from the deep-sunk tube wells bored in the Islamabad Park areas as well as the sectors, especially the ‘I’ and ‘H’ series sectors, 8 MGD from Khanpur reservoir and 3 MGD from the four water works set up in Shahdara, Nurpur Shahan, Saidpur and Korang.

Shahid Sohail said that the parts of the federal capital expected to experience water shortage during the summer season would be the ‘I’ and ‘H’ series sectors where main source of water supply is through tube wells.

“The power loadshedding is expected to increase during the summer months and that would directly affect the productivity of the tubewells that have been sunk in ‘I’ and ‘H’ series sectors. But we have already chalked out a plan to meet the demands of public through an efficient ‘water tanker service’ and we hope we would be able to deal with the problem if it was confronted,” Shahid Sohail said.

He promised that the parts of the federal capital being fed through Simly and Khanpur dams would not face any water shortage during the upcoming summer.

“Even if there are no pre-monsoon rains during the months of June, till the monsoon sets in this year, which is expected to start from July 15, we are comfortably set to meet the increasing demand of water supply this year,” he added.

“At present we are drawing 21MGD from Simly Dam and we have planned to increase it by one MGD on the first of each coming month. As such, from May 1 the withdrawal from Simly Dam will be enhanced to 23 MGD, in June it would be further increased to 24 MGD and in July it would be 25 MGD,” he said.

“We have been informed by the Pakistan Meteorological Department that this year the monsoon rains are expected to start on time and this region may even have some good pre-monsoon rains in wake of the changing global weather pattern. We had a very dry winter this year, as there were hardly any rains or snow in the catchments area of Simly Dam. This cautioned us and we maintained a very controlled withdrawal of water into the treatment plants from Simly Dam. And this is because of the strategy that now we are sitting in a comfortable position and can manage a steady and sufficient supply of water till the monsoon rains start,” he added.

About the expected shortage of water in the ‘I’ and ‘H’ series sectors because of expected power load-shedding, he said that the ‘Water Wing’ has 20 water tankers in operational condition and those would be sufficient to meet the requests from the residents if any shortage was faced.

“During the current period last year (2010) we were receiving around 800 requests for supply of water through tankers. This year we are receiving 376 such requests daily over the corresponding period, which also shows that we have managed a good water supply strategy this year,” he added.

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