Latest reports have unveiled that the water crisis in Rawalpindi is likely to intensify in the next 48 days. Experts have observed an excessive reduction in water discharge from tube wells – groundwater levels have fallen in the twin cities – and a depletion of water reserves in Khanpur Dam due to fewer monsoon rains.
The level of water reserve in Khanpur Dam fell from 1,982 feet to 1,938 feet. Due to this, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has demanded the immediate diversion of agricultural water from the dam to ensure drinking water supply to Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Warning letter sent to officials
The CDA has written
wrote a letter to dam officials stating that the water storage has reduced to an alarming level and there is a danger of severe drinking water crisis in the twin cities in the next seven weeks. The letter further read:
According to the 1991 agreement, even under the National Water Policy 2018, the drinking water supply must be given priority. Given this situation, an urgent decision is needed to ensure drinking water supply to the twin cities.
Citizens are advised to consume water carefully
In support of the CDA, the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) has advised
the citizens to consume water carefully.
WASA Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mahmood said:
If the supply is affected, a water crisis may arise in Rawalpindi. The areas that will face great difficulty include Pirwadhai, Dhok Hasso, Dhok Mangtal, Shamsabad, and Sadiqabad.
The WASA MD further stated:
The groundwater level in most of these areas has gone down, due to which water supply from tube wells is not possible. Moreover, supply compared to demand has already been reduced by 40 to 50 percent in Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment areas.
It should be noted that the Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment Boards have a daily water supply of 11 million gallons from Khanpur Dam. In comparison, five million gallons of water are available daily from tube wells. However, recent data suggests that citizens’ demand has reached 40 million gallons compared to 16 million gallons of daily water supply.
What do the experts say?
Water resources experts believe that the water supply system from Khanpur Dam, Rawal Dam, and tube wells in the twin cities has practically failed, and there is a danger that the system could completely collapse at any moment because of the ever-increasing demand for water.
According to experts, the only water supply option for the next year is the Ghazi Barotha dam. The twin cities can be provided 200 million daily in the first phase, and in the second phase, this supply can be increased to 400 MGD per day.
It is pertinent to mention that the plan suggested by the experts – to bring water from Ghazi Barotha to the twin cities – has been under consideration for the past 17 years. The project has not been able to progress beyond the meeting stage.
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