ISLAMABAD: With the capital facing some of the worst water shortages this summer, the city administrators are optimistic that one long-term solution to Islamabad’s water problem may materialise soon with the project concept (PC-1) of the Ghazi Barotha Water Supply Scheme expected to be ready in the next few weeks.
MM Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd, which represents the Mott MacDonald Group of England - a multidisciplinary engineering company and consultants on the project, is preparing the PC-1 of the multi billion project.
The project cost, though, has now nearly tripled.
“The project is estimated to cost around Rs90 to Rs100 billion which we, Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC), are expecting to get from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPEC),” CDA Member Planning and Design and IMC Chief Metropolitan Officer Asad Mehboob Kiyani told The Express Tribune.
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Kiyani said that he was personally overseeing the project and the PC-1 of the project is likely to be ready within the next two to three weeks after which it would be submitted to the planning commission for further process.
The Ghazi Barotha project had been first announced by the CDA in 2006. At that time, it was estimated that the project would cost around Rs37 billion and would see 200 million gallons (MGs) of water being pumped into the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi from the Ghazi Barotha dam on the Indus River every day.
The project, though, has been delayed for over a decade because provinces were not ready to hand over their share of water to Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
However, during a meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) in 2016, all provinces agreed on the need for the dam after which the federal government gave the CDA the green light to start work on the project.
Under the agreed-on formula, the CDA can draw 74 cusecs of water each from Sindh and Punjab, 27 cusecs from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 24 cusecs from Balochistan’s share.
The project aims to supply 655 MGs of water per day by 2050 in three phases. In the first phase, 200 MGD of water will be supplied to the twin cities.
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The suggestion of making the project part of the CPEC was made by Islamabad Mayor and CDA Chairman Sheikh Ansar Aziz at the beginning of the year. The idea subsequently found support from the State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CDA) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary.
The federal capital, especially sectors I and G, face an acute shortage of water every year when supply to the city dwindles to just 70 MGD as opposed to a demand for 211 MGD. This gap further widens in the summers.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2017.
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