Flashfloods swept away a road and a main water channel in Kargah, a valley adjacent to Gilgit, disrupting the town’s water supply on Thursday for the second time in one week.
In Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), the scorching summer sun causes glaciers to melt, resulting in flashfloods. The meltdown begins from May onwards, increasing the water level in lakes and rivers.
Kargah valley, which is about 20 kilometers from Gilgit, supplies drinking water to Gilgit and surrounding areas. It is also home to hydro power projects supplying electricity to the town.
“The damage caused by the huge flashflood is so colossal that the restoration of the channel and the water supply may take at least two weeks,” said Tahir Rana, a local.
Areas expected to be affected by the suspension of water supply include Kashrote, Sonikote, Nagral, Jutial and Majini Mohallah, which make up nearly 30% of Gilgit’s total population.
The town’s residents could be seen with bottles, jerrycans and buckets, roaming around to find water to take home.
Officials at G-B’s water and sanitation department (Wasa) confirmed the incident and said the government would make temporary arrangements to restore the supply immediately.
“Senior officials are visiting the site to collect information firsthand,” said Fazalul Haq, a Wasa official, adding temporary pipelines are being installed to restore water supply until the channel is fully repaired.
Earlier this week, Gilgit faced an acute water shortage for two days following a landslide that damaged another channel in the same valley.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.
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