ISLAMABAD - The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) is all set to start a campaign against illegal water connections, especially in the areas along the Simly Dam Road, according to the officials. The campaign will start in the areas of Union Council Tumair and Pind Bugwal, Islamabad to disconnect all illegal water connections taken from the main Simly conduction lines as the residents have been asked to voluntarily disconnect such connections by December 3 (tomorrow). The operation will follow expiry of the deadline and the expenditure incurred in this regard will be recovered as risk and cost from those who will not remove these illegal/un-authorized connections under the prevailing laws. According to the MCI officials, residents who will not disconnect such connections will also face cases for theft of water. Shortage of water has been a persisting problem for the residents of the capital city and such illegal connections have been termed as the main reason for such a shortage. In January 2018, MCI had formed a committee to disconnect illegal water connections from the main supply line of Simly Dam. During its meeting, the MCI had constituted a committee including chairmen of union councils 2-8 along with director water supply who had to ensure removal of illegal water connections from the water supply line. Due to less rain spells water shortage is being faced by the capital city. At that time, 19 MGD water was being supplied from the Simly Dam instead of 34 MGD while funds were also released for repair and maintenance of water tankers and pipelines. However, the illegal connections continue to exist till date and the authorities have now decided to launch a crackdown against such illegalities, according to the officials.

According to a rough estimate, there are thousands of citizens in Islamabad who are stealing water from the MCI’s system but the Corporation is unable to punish them since they are very large in number and have connections with the high ups. The water supply department is now with the MCI which also feels helpless against the water mafia that includes owners of the service stations with illegal water connections. Perhaps, that is the reason which prevents the MCI bosses from disconnecting illegal water connections. According to a survey, there are over 7000 illegal connections across the federal capital but action against the stealers has never been initiated. Notices are served by the directorate to water thieves to stop their illegal activity but the notices fall on deaf ears. There are over 6000 illegal connections in the southern division of Islamabad which covers the sectors of I and H series and the satellite towns of Margalla, Rawal, Shahzad and Humak. Sector I-10 tops the list with over 2000 illegal connections, followed by 1,000 in Humak and 793 in sector I-8, according to CDA. Water-suction motors are another reason for the water shortage, especially in the summers. Despite having tapped all possible water resources, scarcity persists in Islamabad as demand has been rising with the city expanding in all directions. According to the officials at the MCI’s water supply directorate, Islamabad needs 100 million gallons of water a day, but the present supply from the Simly and Khanpur dams and tube wells is 60 million gallons per day. The 40 per cent of that supply even goes to waste due to rusted pipelines laid in 1960s.