Murree, a popular hill resort during the scorching summers, has been hit by acute water shortage, triggered by power outages.
Most restaurants on Mall Road have had to shut down their washrooms, with no water available to even wash hands before meals.
Shafqat, a hotel manager at a well-known restaurant chain, said it is for the very first time that Murree is facing a water crisis. “We have to bring water from nearby springs for cooking and dishwashing.”
Anwar a salesman at a fast food outlet said due to prolonged load shedding it has become difficult to preserve food.
Kamran, who visits Murree every year with his family, said, “We come here to have a cool summer but this year the situation is terrible.”
Assistant Commissioner Murree Tariq Chandio said the main reason behind the acute water shortage is 18 to 20 hours’ of power outages. He said water supply in Murree is dependent on the availability of electricity.
As a tourist destination, Muree was exempted from power cuts until last year. The exemption was withdrawn last year, he said.
Chandio said the total population of Murree city is around 25,000. However the number of people in the city increases to 125,000 in summers.
This year, due to the power crisis, the administration has been unable to meet even half of that demand.
Water tankers, which cost less than Rs1,000 in the twin cities, cost between Rs6,000 and Rs9,000 in Murree. Most people can’t afford to shell out the money. This forced the administration to prioritise.
“We have discontinued water supply to all VIP residences and a famous local hotel to facilitate residents,” he said.
Former Murree Town nazim Sardar Saleem said the city receives water from Donga Gali and Dhar Jawa as there are no water reservoirs in Murree. “The only way to overcome water shortage is to complete the suspended Murree Bulk Water Supply Project.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.