LAHORE - The experts believe that the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development (RRFUD) project is an environment friendly initiative which will help fight the global climate change challenges of the future Lahore.

While talking to APP, Deputy Director (Development) Sheikhupura Engr Mian Muhammad Tariq, said on Sunday that RRFUD had been envisaged to defeat pollution, contamination of water, depletion of the groundwater and help ensure healthy environment and human life through ecological balance.

Engr Mian Tariq said environmental threats like floods will be overcome through the RRFUD, adding that it will also help in controlling water and food scarcity besides preserving identity of the dying River Ravi.

To a question, he said Lahore is faced with dire water challenges, adding that the water levels have depleted owing to the drying River Ravi besides wastewater has contaminated the ground water. He said the water treatment plants will not only treat the contaminated water for drinking purposes but these will be also provided water for irrigation.

Mian Tariq said: “In the past, one needed to dig 20-30 feet to get water but today it needs almost 500 feet digging to get water in Lahore,” adding that working on the project near the Ravi in Sheikhupura, we found our that the water was available at 5 feet under the ground on the bank of the river.

He said the Ravi Riverfront will be developed in three phases and, in the initial phase, a lake covering 46 kilometers area, six wastewater treatment plants, three barrages and urban forest would be developed during the first three years. 

 “The water table will come up in old Lahore as well after the Ravi is channelized under the RRFUD,” he responded to a question. 

Giving out details of the environmental advantages, the Deputy Director Development Sheikhupura said the city will be developed on the waterfront as rive Ravi will be channelized for 46 kilometres and this water body will be helpful in growing a green cover, adding that some 6 million trees will be planted.

While Engr Imran Zafar of the NESPAK, who has worked closely on the project, shared that the only difficulty was to initiate the gigantic project as the previous government had shelved it but the Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken the decision to build a future city in Pakistan. 

“The project is a visionary step towards bridling the monster of climate change in a third world country like Pakistan and will improve the environment by channeling the Ravi”, the Engr. said.

 “Twelve new cities including Residential City, Medical City, Downtown, Commercial Hub, Urban Farms and Miscellaneous Use City will be developed in the first phase with Innovation City spanning over 1370 acres in the second phase while, the third phase, Knowledge City, Sports City and Eco City on a land area of 14000 acres will be completed”, he remarked, adding that a total land area of 103271 acres will be acquired from public and government control for the development of RRFUD. 

The Town planning expert, to a question, said provision of water for drinking and irrigation is the top-most priority for which wastewater and surface water treatment plants will be installed. 

About clean water, he said development of the lake will purge the Ravi from domestic and industrial waste and provide 271 billion liters of water, adding that the wastewater treatment plants would help treat 2.4 billion liter water daily and this water will irrigate 75000 acres of land. 

On environmental advantages, Rngr. Imran Zafar said the new city has been envisaged, keeping in view the environmental threats, to keep the amorphous Lahore safe from climate change challenges, adding that Islamabad, the capital, is one of the only cities which is properly planned and it is hoped that the RRF City would provide same living standards.