Managing Drinking Water for The Capital Of Pakistan

Third world governments plan and make strategies and show their commitment to efficient and sustainable use of water. But, while implementing these strategies into action, executing agencies always make mistakes, mostly due to organizational inefficiency and incompetence.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is the Civic Authority of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, responsible to provide save drinking water to city dwellers. Currently, the CDA gets 75 million gallons of water daily from different supplies for the population of 6,350,000 but enormous leakage in water supply system method city dwellers receive polluted and short supply of water owing to lethal combination of bad water governance and incompetence.

Instead of improving water governance, CDA made a plan of enormous investments to augment the water supply from Ghazi Barotha, Indus River, by spending Rs 30 Billions[ 0.5 billion dollars] instead concentrating Institutional reform to enhance ineffective water governance that encourage overexploitation and use of water. The project would be proving disastrous to public exchequer in the scenario of country facing serious energy crises. In fact, according to the project details, water would be lifted from a site that is 915 feet below the level of Islamabad. consequently instead of trying to find out and build the new ones CDA ought to focus on efficient use of exciting water resources and rectify the situation simultaneously while the prescription for today is the management of “each drop of water is vital”.

Rawalpindi is a old, low laying ancient city just located near Capital of Pakistan and in monsoon rainfall season confront the problem of flood. The sad and brutal truth is that in the situation, where water from heights of Islamabad is wreaking havoc in Rawalpindi almost every year in the form of flood by swelling Lai River [Nullah]. Past records of the last 35 years is the observe of 23 harsh floods in Rawalpindi including an historical flood occurring in July 2001 (considered as a national disaster). The basic cause of flood in Rawalpindi is without of storage of rainwater coming from Margalla hills by CDA management as 80% catchment of Lai falls in Islamabad. Margalla hills were declared as National Park [reserved forest] by the effort of WWF in the year 1980 and now forest at Margalla hills converted in to thick natural vegetative cover. examination of rainfall data of Islamabad from 1980 to 2006 discloses due to thick forest canopy provides an excellent form’ that monsoon rainfall trend is increasing. CDA management is totally ignorant to this climatic characterize of Margalla hills which consequence in flood in Rawalpindi. Original town planner of Islamabad Constantinos A. Doxiadis and afterward other international agencies like JICA recommend CDA time and again for an integrate approach by augmenting water of Margalla hills for drinking purpose due to its purity and mitigating flood in Rawalpindi.

Residents of the form city are the worst victims of inconsistent water supply. The existing drinking water supply system of old sectors was executed almost 40 years ago. The authorities concerned failed to upgrade the system in accordance with the growing sectors and population therewith despite the fact that original master plan of form city alternation many times.

The mega project of water supply was justified with the hypotheses that the city is getting 60-70 million gallons daily against its requirement of about 147 million gallons. This is against the factual position as 60 to 70% of water goes unaccounted for which figure is the highest in the world.

The highest percentage of losses speaks of itself the efficiency and competence of CDA. Though Capital Development Authority engaged number of consultants, including JICA ( 1988), Nespak( 1992), MM Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (1998) and a special study conducted with the help of Govt of Japan in 2000, for the improvement of supply system to make it form. All the consultants recommended that first 60 % leakage must be addressed before exploring new water resource. Lately in November 2005, Government of France conducted a study on “strategy for the control and management of unaccounted for water” by world reputed experts in this basic and chronic problem of water supply system. The study substantiates the past findings in addition.

According to the statistic per capita availability of water in Islamabad is more than 440 liters per person as compared to other highly consuming cities of Asia like Shinghai and Seoul, which consume 250 and 210 liter per person respectively. Besides, receiving highest per capita water residents of Islamabad get water only for one hour throughout the day. In other words it method that despite existence of sufficient water residents of the city get far less quantity which is already less than minimum right of a citizen according to charter of United Nation, i.e. 100 liters of water per person per day. CDA management, being form civic authority, neither acknowledged this right nor recognized water as an economic commodity. Otherwise conserving water and to fulfill need thereof is the best tool to eradicate the poverty.

Another gloomy aspect that illustrates gross negligence and mismanagement of CDA is none-metering and intermittent water supply operation philosophy, causing water wastage at the consumer end. This devastating policy forced dwellers to install electric pumps on water connections due to low pressure. Inadequate and irregular supply of water is also one of the basic causes of contamination and leakage in secondary water supply network. In the original water supply plan, meters were planned to be installed but later declared out of use, visibly an attempt to hide enormous leakage. An interesting fact that may arouse curiosity of the readers that water meters were installed in Murree in June 1887 which system is working. Effective water-metering system makes water administration accountable on water losses. Islamabad is the only capital where flat rates are charged from consumers irrespective of water consumption. Just imagine the discriminatory policy of CDA that a house in posh sectors mostly having big swimming pools installed additional illegal connections charged with same flat rates as small house in other sectors. This apartheid policy forced dwellers to store more water than needed. Not only this, inadequate and irregular supply of water due to low pressure also forced dwellers to Install electric pumps on water connections, bore holes, and dug wells to increase the supply of water; consequently causing inequitable dispensing and water feuds. Metering system increases the awareness of water being consumed in a household and, consequently, reduces wastage and leakages. This in turn helps to conserve precious water resources and benefits the ecosystem.

The track record of CDA on the management of water resources is an example of its own kind. for example in February, March 2005, more than 29000 million gallon of water from Khanpur and Simly dam spilled over and escaped to sea resulting in another artificial crises in the following month for the residents. Khanpur Dam can alone cater the water need of Capital till 2050, firstly if its conveyance root is adopted according to recommendation of JICA, WAPDA and other international experts. The same will also save more then Rs 95 Million yearly on account of electricity bill alone for pumping water. Secondly, the address the chronic problem of seepage in Khanpur dam that is 35 million gallon monthly.

There is a water crisis to meet water need of Islamabad. Surely it is a crisis of management that is threatening water resources with bad governance. The need is bridging the gap between higher management sitting in the offices and ground realities pertaining to possible existing water resources. The need is to employing additional storage capacity of Simly after construction of Auxiliary Spillway, tapping water from seasonal water of flows of Margalla Hills, optimum use of Khanpur water resource, in addition to digital water meters, is cost effective solution of drinking water for Islamabad city. Water conservation and rain harvesting techniques is part of the building by-laws 2005 but never enforced. The immediate example for CDA authorities is in our neighbor country where rain harvesting is mandatory in many Indian cities. already, the annual requirement of the Indian President’s Palace is met from its rooftop rainwater

Foregoing paras, with authentic facts are enough to explain that spending of 30 billion rupees on bringing water from Indus River would not only be economic disaster but also prove a catastrophy in term of operating cost. Managing efficiently existing water resources is the call of the day making Islamabad as Modal of water governance for other cities of the Pakistan as hypothesizedv and planned by the Federal Capital Commission in October 1959, while shifting capital from Karachi.

Leave a Reply