islamabad - Hundreds of residents of the federal capital yesterday staged a protest demonstration against shortage of potable water supply in the city.

The protestors, some of them women, gathered in front of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) headquarters to vent their anger against the authority which is responsible for smooth supply of water. Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf MNA Asad Umar led the protest as he came hard on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz member parliament from the capital Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary for ‘ruining’ and interfering in the affairs of the authority.  

The issue of access to potable water in the city is getting serious with each passing year as the population of the city is increasing day by day.

A large proportion of the population does not have access to safe water.

Unfortunately, even in areas where the water is known to be unsafe, people may drink it anyway, out of no other option. Engineering Wing of the CDA looks after the arrangements for water supply in the city.

Asad Umar was of the view that the residents were deprived of drinking water even in the summer season. He said that toeing the policies of the rulers in centre, the CDA high-ups were also spending money on roads and bridges instead of provision of basic necessities.

He observed that the city was in need of 170mgd water and it was being supplied just 50mgd. Furthermore, he said, the authority has allocated just 14 water tankers to cater to the needs of millions of residents while 21 such tankers were out of order since long. It is to mention here that Islamabad face major crunch during summer season and pre-monsoons, when water rationing is imposed, people throng the complaint centres and clamour for water tankers. Assad Umar demanded of the authorities to resolve the water shortage issue before launching some other project in the city. He also underlined the need of overhauling the rusted water supply system.

Talking to The Nation, Latif Abbasi, a resident of I-10 sector said that they had been facing severe water shortage since long. “We get water twice or thrice a week that is insufficient. When we approach the CDA officials for water tanker, they cited limited available vehicles. We have no option but to protest against CDA,” he said.

 He was of the view that the residents were facing difficulties in getting water tanker service due to increasing water demand in the wake of limited water supply in hot summer.

In Islamabad, the main source of water are, the reservoirs built at Simly and Khanpur and few tube-wells. The project ‘Conduction of water from Indus River system of Tarbela Dam to Islamabad and Rawalpindi’ is in the pipeline since years as scarcity of water especially the potable water has remained a major predicament towards opening new sectors in Islamabad. The population of the city is growing at a rate of 5.7 per cent per year aggravating the water shortage.

 According to the CDA’s own estimates, present population of 1.757 million is likely to increase to 4.443 million in 2050. Conduction of water from Tarbella Lake had been found as the most optimal choice to meet present demand (200 MGD) and future requirement for twin cities on long term basis.

Meanwhile, CDA has said that it increased the supply of water to 74 million gallons per day to meet water requirements in the city during the summer season particularly to facilitate the residents during Holly month of Ramzan. Furthermore, repair and maintenance of water supply pipelines have also been completed due to which remarkable improvement in water supply has been witnessed, they added.

They said a meeting was held at the Jinnah Convention Centre which reviewed the situation of water supply in the city and arrangements made by the authority to facilitate the residents in the Holly month of Ramadan. Member Engineering Shahid Sohail apprised the meeting that first time water supply has been enhanced to 74 MGD to facilitate the residents of the federal capital.

He further apprised that IESCO have been taken on board and it was mutually agreed to adjust the load-shedding timings which will further reduce the complaints of water shortage where tube wells are being operated on electricity. He said that more water tankers are being deputed in the thickly populated areas for early disposal of water complaints.

He said that water motor installed at Khanpur Dam has also been repaired and now optimum supply of water is being conducted through this source.