Provision of water has not only been a serious issue in Islamabad’s backyard — the rural areas — but also in the city’s heart.
Lack of it in the pre-monsoon season aside, the main issue would now be the supply of clean and filtered water for domestic use. As rains intensify, many will wonder how pure the water being provided to them is.
(Read: What’s that smell? City’s elite leave foul flavour in drinking water)
Not to worry though: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in a statement on Thursday assured the residents of Islamabad that the water being provided to them is properly treated and disinfected. He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) carries out the entire process in accordance with the World Health Organization guidelines.
In order to facilitate the residents with clean water, CDA has installed around 37 filtration plants in various sectors of the capital, the premier said in his statement.
Earlier, the lawmakers had shown concern that during the monsoon rains, the residents of the twin cities were often supplied contaminated water. “It gets heavily polluted by the inflow of sewage and waste water,” a lawmaker had contended.
However, the PM said that the CDA Water Quality Control Cell regularly monitors the quality of drinking water at each source, distribution network and consumers end to ensure that the water supplied to the end consumer is safe for drinking.
As the seepage continues
Rawal Dam is the main source of water to the residents of the twin cities. In a recent case, the Supreme Court (SC) asked the relevant authorities to take action against housing societies and people responsible for discharging sewage into the dam. The court had also directed the federal and Punjab environment protection agencies to initiate proceedings against violators.
Rawal Dam has a catchment area of 275 square km, which provides an average of 84,000 acre feet of water annually. Official sources in the Islamabad administration said that at least five million gallons of raw sewage flows into the reservoir daily, posing serious health hazards. The main contributors to the sewage are housing societies and around 104 poultry farms established in Murree.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Amir Ali Ahmed said that on the directions of the SC, Islamabad Capital Territory made a “comprehensive plan” to cope with the situation. He said that three seepage pits will be established at Bhara Kahu, Noorpur Shahan and Bani Gala at a cost of Rs40 million, adding that the pit at Noorpur Shahan has been completed.
“Three main dumping points will be established in Sihala, Bhara Kahu and Koral, where all the waste material from 12 union councils will be dumped,” he added. He said that a solid waste disposal plant worth Rs10 million will also be set up.
CDA Water and Sewerage Director-General Shahid Sohail said that they served notices to 301 houses located in the suburb for discharging sewage into the lake. “Following the SC’s directions, 10 seepage pits have been made to absorb the sewage.”
Protection against the illnesses
“CDA carries out spraying and fogging on regular basis within the Municipal Limits of CDA, Islamabad,” CDA Water and Sewerage DG Sohail said, adding that every two months, CDA Directorate of Health Services launches a campaign against mosquitoes, insects and other diseases; areas are sprayed and fogged under the supervision of a qualified entomologist.
The staff of Anti-Malaria Section is working in two shifts, morning and evening, Sohail said.
Each shift consists of three to four persons, who are deputed at high risk areas for the spraying and fogging of houses, streets, public parks, green-belts, schools, mosques, churches, weekly bazaars and markets, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.