Before the summer even sets in, people living in the capital’s rural areas have already started facing water shortages.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to do household chores without water,” said Zehra, a house wife who lives in Bhara Kahu. “One can manage to live without electricity and gas, but there’s no substitute for water,” she added.
Of the capital’s rural areas, Bhara Kahu has been worst affected by water shortages. The locals say the area receives water from the local government’s supply lines for only one hour in a week and that too at some unscheduled time.
We are forced to get water via water tankers, whose owners have now started charging phenomenally high rates, said Ammar, another local.
He said that it is unfortunate that even though the Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari is a resident of the area, the locals are still deprived of necessities.
Last summers, residents of Bhara Kahu held a massive protest on Athal Chowk against water shortage. They were assured by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration that the issue will be resolved soon.
“Those were just words, no practical steps have been taken to resolve the issue,” he added.
An official of the local government, requesting not to be named, said that around 70 per cent of residents of Bhara Kahu use their own resources to get water, whereas the remaining 30 per cent are provided water by the local government through supply lines.
The official said there are only two water tankers with the local government that are insufficient to cater to the needs of the residents.
He said that around 10 months ago, CDA and ICT administration agreed to establish an underground water tank to overcome the water crisis in the area during the summers. However, much like those of the locals, this water tank too is empty, he added.
Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ali Ahmed concurred that the ICT administration has built a large water tank with the capacity of 160,000 gallons, “which is large enough to meet the water needs of Bhara Kahu”. However, we are waiting for CDA to provide a water connection to fill the reservoir, he said.
The deputy commissioner said that ICT administration had earlier agreed to pay CDA Rs200,000 per month for the water connection. “Hopefully the matter will be resolved soon and there will be no water shortage in Bhara Kahu this summer,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.