Sargodha thirst for clean water persists

Published: April 21, 2018

SARGODHA: The water crisis is getting worse with each passing day in Sargodha. The level of underground water has also decreased and people have been forced to stop using it as it has turned bitter and toxic. The high level of salinity and toxicity damages the boring pipelines, preventing people from using groundwater.

Scarcity of clean water has left locals in a state of desperation. Residents of the area say they have been deprived of this basic resource, despite claims that millions of rupees are annually budgeted for the crisis.

“People are forced to buy clean water because MPAs have lied to them,” a local, requesting anonymity, tells Express News. He complains that the quality of groundwater has worsened to the extent that it could neither be used for bathing, nor for washing laundry or dishes.

He fears that the situation might increase the cost of drinking water in the city from Rs15 per can to Rs25 per can.

Another citizen adds the common man has been forced to allocate a budget for buying water, in addition to meeting other household expenses. “The nation needs clean water instead of the Orange Line Metro Train and Metro Buses,” he added. He maintains they can manage without public transport, but not without water.

The citizens demand that parliamentarians pay attention to the issue and urge their fellows to only vote in those legislators who make efforts to provide clean water to the masses.

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Earlier in 2012, a technical survey was conducted by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) which reveals that 79% water sources of the functional Water Supply Schemes (WSS) in Northern and Central Punjab are unsafe for drinking purposes. Microbiological contamination has been found in all water samples.

The survey indicates that 88% of the water being supplied through functional schemes is unsafe for drinking purposes.

The WSS are providing piped water supply for drinking purposes to meet household needs and other uses. Nearly 61% of the total population remains unserved by water supply schemes.

The survey finds that awareness over the hazards of the unsafe drinking water and the importance of safe drinking water is next to nothing.

Meanwhile, experts say the common problem encountered in schemes is a complex due to various institutional, financial and technological issues.

They say there is no concept about the use of safe water for drinking purposes among the general public and the managers of water supply schemes.

They point out the lack of proper management, operation and maintenance of systems is one of the critical faced by the schemes and the people they serve.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2018.

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