Call for action to avert monsoon flooding in Pindi

WASA urges proactive measures to shield low-lying areas from inundation

Jamil Mirza April 22, 2024
Commuters drive through rain on a road. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has issued an urgent appeal to the Capital Development Authority (CDA), urging proactive measures to shield low-lying areas in Rawalpindi from inundation during the monsoon season.

The agency has highlighted the pressing need to address the substantial influx of water originating from the mountains of Islamabad, which pours into Nullah Leh, exacerbating flood risks.

In response to this imminent threat, Wasa has proposed the construction of a dam in Islamabad to intercept the flow of water into Nullah Leh, thereby mitigating the risk of inundation. Additionally, Wasa has forwarded a request for Rs150 million to the Punjab government to facilitate the cleaning of Nullah Leh and 15 other sewage drains within the city limits before the onset of the monsoon season.

During the monsoon period, Rawalpindi grapples with floods in low-lying areas and the cantonment due to the swelling water levels in Nullah Leh. Moreover, post-monsoon, the extended open sewage system transforms Nullah Leh into a source of air pollution. The absence of completed projects, such as an expressway for Nullah Leh or mechanisms for diverting sewage away from the city, perpetuates the annual threat posed by Nullah Leh during the monsoon season.

This year is no exception, as Wasa once again confronts the looming spectre of flooding from Nullah Leh in Rawalpindi. To address this challenge, Wasa has requested Rs80 million from the Punjab government for deepening Nullah Leh through desilting and enhancing water flow to mitigate flooding risks. Furthermore, an additional demand of Rs70 million has been made for the cleansing of 15 sewage drains that discharge into Nullah Leh from inner-city areas.

Muhammad Saleem Ashraf, Managing Director of Wasa, emphasises the annual pre-monsoon clean-up of Nullah Leh and the 15 sewerage drains to ensure unimpeded water flow. This proactive measure aims to expedite the passage of water through the sewerage network, ultimately reducing the risk of flooding in the suburbs of Rawalpindi.

Ashraf identifies a significant contributor to the current flood situation in Nullah Leh as the substantial inflow of water from rivers linked to the catchment area of Islamabad's hills, inundating low-lying areas of Rawalpindi.

In light of these challenges, Wasa recommends to the CDA the diversion of water from the mountains and streams of Islamabad to prevent it from entering Rawalpindi, proposing the construction of a dam in Islamabad as a viable solution. Such measures would not only secure an alternative water source for Islamabad but also alleviate water pressure in Rawalpindi's Leh Nullah, safeguarding suburban areas from floods.

Ashraf underscores Wasa’s commitment to promptly commence desilting operations in Nullah Leh and the fifteen sewage drains upon receipt of funds from the Punjab government. Efforts will be concentrated to expedite these initiatives, aiming to fortify low-lying areas of the city and cantonment against monsoon-related flooding.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2024.


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