Islamabad - The government functionaries and high-ups at Capital Development Authority (CDA) seemed more focused on disputing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf concerns over persistent water shortage in the city and giving a knee jerk reaction rather than addressing the issue.

The PTI — main opposition in the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) — has had been complaining about water shortage in the city since the formation of MCI and the treasury PML-N assured them of doing the needful to address the issue. However, the situation is same, as it was about one year back — out-of-order water tankers, broken pipelines, unabated water theft, faulty tube-wells, non-availability of generators for load shedding hours, and above all lack of will and commitment are the issues the authorities are yet to resolve.

The situation has become worse in the running year with the lack of funds at disposal of MCI and ever-increasing demand for potable water. According to the official estimates, the current water shortfall is 97mg/d.

PML-N local leadership led by its MNA from Islamabad and State Minister for CADD, Tariq Fazal Chaudhary instead of striving to put the things in a right direction deems it fit to criticize PTI for ‘politicizing’ the issue.

The local police was used to contain the PTI protest planned for Wednesday on the issue. Instead of giving a way out of the crisis, the minister of state alleged that PTI was unnecessarily raising the issue and taking it to the streets.

To defuse the situation, the public relations directorate of CDA would issue a press release regularly that the water supply directorate has increased supply for the residents.

MCI officials instead of taking the things seriously seemed preferring ad-hoc arrangements. A fleet of over 40 water tankers on the disposal of the authorities is itself an indication that how much the officials believe in ad-hoc arrangements. However, just less than 30 tankers are functional that shows the will of the officials at the helm of affairs and that how serious CDA is about addressing the needs of the residents of the city. The situation — like each summer season — is likely to aggravate in the coming months and the demand for water tankers reaching up to 300 per day at a single CDA inquiry office. 

The officials could entertain only half of the complaints for water shortage and the rest are left at the mercy of the scorching heat.

The water theft is continued and some influential are also involved in the crime, but CDA has hardly taken any serious step to curb the practice. According to a report, the directorate of security of CDA has had detected 221 illegal water connections from the main conduction line crossing from Bhara Kahu area and supplying water from Simly Dam to Islamabad, however, the authority lacks both action and commitment to remove the same.

The concerned water supply directorate is responsible for guarding the main conduction line and water theft cannot be done without its connivance. The report said local residents have been frequently making connections illegally for a period of time.

The main conduction line is laid for supply of drinking water from Simly Water Filtration Plant to Islamabad. The illegal connections have been taken by the locals for their houses and shops by puncturing the main line. The residents of Noorpur Shahan, Kot Hathyal, Bhara Kahu, Mohalla Pari, Pind Begwal, Shahpur Town near Satti Villas, old Addah Pind Begwal, Jundala Simly Road, Simly Road, and NRSP office Tumair have got illegal connections from the main line.

Nayyar Bukhari House is also amongst those who are benefitting from the illegal water connections, said the report. An official from the water directorate said more than 110 million gallons of water was available from existing sources, but a large quantity of that water is lost due to leakage in the underground pipes.

According to the reports, 80 out of 192 tube-wells are out-of-order. Those areas which are supplied water through tube-wells are the most affected due to lesser discharge and load shedding. In the summer seasons, increased load shedding causes water supply but the authorities are not ready to invest in generators. Two electric motors at Sangjani pumping station are out-of –order since long.

CDA has had been unable to construct Chirah dam which was supposed to supply water to the twin cities. Similarly, the project for conduction of water from Terbela dam is yet to be materialised due to lack of political will thus aggravating the situation for the residents of the twin cities. The Opposition Leader in the MCI, Ali Awan met member planning division, CDA on the issue on Thursday and got assurance that the issue would be resolved soon.  

Meanwhile, CDA’s anti-encroachment drive is continued in the city. Operations to eradicate encroachments are being conducted all over the city without any discrimination. During the last week, operations were conducted in 65 different areas of the city. During these operations, 13 illegal kiosks, six rooms, four boundary walls, ten illegal fruit and vegetable stalls, four barber shops, and other encroachments were removed, said CDA officials.