Badly hit: Citizens protest against water shortage

Protests held by residents of more than 13 localities in the city.

Hassan Naqvi July 16, 2014

LAHORE: Hundreds of people took to the streets in various parts of the city on Tuesday to protest against water shortage.

The protest demonstrations were held in Sanda, Islampura, Mughalpura, Dharampura, Singhpura, Kot Abdul Malik, Multan Road, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Masson Road, Garhi Shahu, Harbanspura, Bagarian, Sitara Colony, Bosan Colony and Kirklan.

The protesters burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the government.

Abdul Razzaq, a resident of Harbanspura, told The Express Tribune that they had been facing a severe shortage of water for three days.

“We were already facing electricity and gas loadshedding and now water has also become scarce,” he said. Razzaq said citizens were forced to store water in buckets and pots when its supply was resumed. “However, this is not enough to last us the whole day. We need a lot of water at sehr and iftar,” he said.

“The government is telling us to pray for rain instead of taking any step to deal with the shortage of electricity and water,” said Razzaq.

He said the government must take immediate steps to restore the water supply.

Syed Ali Akbar Abbas Rizvi, a resident of Masson Road, said that water was unavailable at sehr and iftar.

“Water is a basic necessity of life and it is very difficult to live without water in this hot weather,” he said. Rizvi criticised the government for being slow to respond to the problem. “The government must do something to improve the city’s water supply, instead of focusing only on bridges and metro buses,” he said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Member National Assembly Shaza Fatima Khawaja said the government was fully aware of the water shortage in the city.

“Many factors contribute to the current water shortage, including the hot weather and the delayed rains. We assure the public that adequate steps are being taken to address the problem. You will soon see the results,” she said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ali Hasnain Sayed, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Pakistan water security and stewardship manager, said all sections of society had the responsibility of conserving water.

“Water is everybody’s business. It is not only the responsibility of the government. All sectors have to see their risk and act accordingly,” he said.

Sharing data from a WWF-Pakistan’s study, Sayed said Pakistan was a water-scarce country because of mismanagement of water resources. “The per capita water availability has been reduced to 960 cubic metre,” he said.

“It is estimated that Pakistan’s water availability in 2025 will be 104 million acre feet (MAF), while the requirement (for drinking water) will be 135 MAF.

So there will be a shortfall of 31 MAF,” he said.

He said a study in 11 cities of the Punjab had showed that over two million people were drinking water with high levels of arsenic.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.


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