IS the Punjab government going to mismanage the current crisis of shortage of potable water in Lahore? A possibility, since the steps the government is currently taking to solve the problem in the short term are exactly what might exacerbate the problem in the long term. Scores of localities in the provincial capital are facing a severe shortage of drinking water. Long queues were seen outside water collection points which, compounded by the increasingly hot weather, predictably led to a number of scuffles between the citizens. The city's water and sanitation body, WASA had a plan of replacing 69 tubewells and installing 141 generators to solve the problem. To this end, the Punjab government had awarded the said contract to the FWO, which had so far only installed 18 of the tubewells. The contract for the generators, on the other hand, has been allotted to a private German concern, which has installed only 85 of the same. The date for the completion of the tubewell plan is said to be 15th of June whereas the date for the completion of the generators project is 30th June. Now the problem here is that even though the most immediate episode of the water shortage is because of an insufficient number of tubewells, the long-term problem is precisely because of an excess of these. More than 400 tubewells are estimated to be pumping out thousands of gallons on a daily basis in the city. This leads to a constant decrease in the level of the underground water table. But what is a city district (or provincial) government to do? The tubewells are necessitated by a drastic increase in population. True, but there is also a near vulgar waste of drinking water in the city. This is also a consequence of only less than half of the water connections in the city being metered. Even industrial units use drinking water sources in their processes. New laws need to be made to conserve water. Just as energy conservation is referred to as the "fifth fuel", water conservation can also serve as an invisible source of water.