RAWALPINDI: Supply of water to the garrison city from the Rawal Dam Lake was suspended on Saturday after reports emerged that the water may be poisoned.
Water supply is expected to resume as soon as different laboratories test and clear the water for human consumption.
A senior official at the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) said that the Small Dams Organisation (SDO) Punjab had discontinued water supply to the agency after reports about the fish mortality in the lake appeared in a section of the media.
He added that the taps were closed at 12 pm. However, he added that WASA had made alternate arrangements to supply water to residents of Rawalpindi.
According to media reports, a large number of dead fish floated to the surface of the dam on Friday.
Reports further suggested that initial tests of the water had confirmed that the large aquifer had become poisonous, possibly owing to effluents from nearby poultry farms and agriculture fields in the catchment areas of the dam measuring around 10 square miles.
The fisheries department in Islamabad also registered an FIR against unidentified mafia living around the lake for allegedly poisoning the water.
The WASA official further said that preliminary reports from the Regional Research Laboratory Public Healthcare had found no arsenic in the lake’s water, however, water samples had been dispatched to the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and the Punjab Forensic Laboratory for further tests.
WASA spokesperson Umer Farooq confirmed that the SDO had stopped water supply from the Rawal Lake.
About alternate supply plans, he said that the 400 tube wells in and around the city would be operated to ensure the continuous supply of water to the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2017.