ISLAMABAD - Fifth water quality monitoring report 2005-06 launched on Tuesday termed most of the water sources of 23 major cities of the country including the Federal Capital unsafe for drinking purpose. The report was launched at a 'National Coordination Conference on the Improvement of Water Quality', jointly organised by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) and UNICEF. As many as 357 water sources were selected from 23 major cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kasur, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Sargodha, Khuzdar, Loralai, Quetta, Ziarat, Mangora, Mardan, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Hyderabad, Karachi and Sukkur for drinking water quality monitoring which revealed the presence of four main water quality problems of Bacteriological, Arsenic, Nitrate and Fluoride. Out of total 375 only 45 water sources were found safe and the remaining 312 were unsafe for drinking purpose during 2002-06. The national water quality monitoring programme was initiated by PCRWR, in 2002, which continued for five years. The report revealed, in the Federal Capital, only seven sources out of 27 were found safe and the rest of the 74 percent samples were unsafe due to bacteriological contamination.  Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan has shown an alarming situation of drinking water contamination as all of 16 of its sources were supplying unsafe water due to 50 percent bacteriological and 100 percent arsenic contamination. "Karachi, the largest metropolitan city and capital of Sindh, revealed 93 percent unsafe water sources due to the presence of bacteriological contamination, TDS and fluoride, sodium, chloride, sulphate, nitrate and iron". Twenty-two water samples including 6 dams, 9 rivers, 2 canals, 4 lakes and 1 drain; Left Bank Outfall Drain, Right Bank Outfall Drain, Sukkur, from 23 selected surface water bodies were also collected and analysed for 28 water quality parameters.  All samples were found microbiologically contaminated, it said.     The report recommended the departments responsible for water supply in urban areas to replace age-old leaking pipes in their water supply systems. These pipes are not only a source of wastage of scarce water but are also a major cause of bacterial contamination in the distribution system.   The report disclosed that sub-standard chemicals containing impurities are used in water treatment plants. Such chemical can produce different kinds of contaminants, causing health hazards. It further added that, most of the industries in the country are indiscriminately discharging harmful toxic elements into water bodies. "The Environment Protection Agency should become more active and strictly enforce laws and regulations preventing industrial entrepreneur from discharging their effluents directly into open water bodies and groundwater".   The message of Mikiko Tanaka, Deputy Country Director, UNDP, was read on the event, which said, in the 60 years since the birth of Pakistan, water availability per person has dropped by a sheer 80 percent. Considering the existing population growth rate, it is estimated that in 2011, 21 percent of the population will be facing water shortages. "It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent health problems in Pakistan are associated with water-borne disease. We as humans cannot survive without water but in our increasingly prosperous world, more than 1 billion people are denied the right to clean water and 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation" the UNDP representative informed. PCRWR Chairman Dr. Muhammad Akram Kahlown, UNESCO Representative Qunli Han and Andrew Parker, MNA Anjum Aqueel Khan and representatives of different ministries attended the conference.