ISLAMABAD: The government will help Capital Development Authority (CDA) implement its plan on provision of water from Ghazi Barotha Dam to the twin cities. Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani himself had assured the civic body of full support on the project.

“As per arrangements, the Economic Division in two months time will seek Expression of Interest through media advertisement from different multinational companies for the execution of the multi-billion project,” an official said, adding that the project will be executed entirely on a loan basis.

After its approval back in 2005, the project was marred by many controversies. The provinces’ concern in the matter, however, was the main stumbling block in its execution.

Upon being contacted, CDA Member Engineering, Abdul Jabbar Milano, confirmed the latest development.

He added that the water supply project was high on the priority list of CDA Chairperson Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, to overcome the “imminent water crisis in the federal capital.”
“Due to controversies, we could not add a single source of water to the existing water supply sources for the last many years,” he said. The water situation would further worsen after completion of construction work of five stars hotels, business centres and new sectors, he added.
At present, Simly Dam on River Soan, Khanpur Dam on River Korang and tube wells provide water to Islamabad.

Sanaullah Baloch, an official in Water Management wing of CDA, told The Express Tribune that the project was in doldrums since 2006 when the provinces raised their concern, due to which, later on the federal government dropped the issue.

Originally a Rs22 billion project (in 2005), the same project will now cost around Rs50 billion for completion, he added.
“If the project is executed, in the first phase alone, 100 million gallons each will be supplied to both Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” Baloch said.
The project also includes construction of filtration plants, small reservoirs and two water tunnels. Thus, CDA would be able to provide water to the residents of Islamabad at their “doorsteps around the clock at subsidised rates”, he said.

Milano said the construction work of the project will be awarded through International Competitive Bidding process as per the procedure of the government, after completion of the studies, codal formalities and arrangements of funds.

Not a sudden development CDA has been trying to get the project off ground for quite some time now. Back in October, at a ceremony held in CDA Directorate, CDA chairperson had said that the authority had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private Chinese firm to review the feasibility study of the project.

The MoU was signed between CDA and Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese central government-owned company to review the feasibility study for conduction of water from Indus River System at Haripur/Siran pocket site of Tarbela Dam to Islamabad and Rawalpindi free-of-charge.