Rawalpindi  - Several areas of Rawalpindi have begun to reel under severe water shortage leaving people to run here and there in search of the basic need of life.

The water tanker owners have increased the price from Rs3,000 to Rs4,000 while doubling the miseries of the citizens. Interestingly water is being supplied to homes by the tanker owners with a time span of four to five days that too after advance booking. In sizzling heat during Ramazan, long queues of citizens including women and children could  be witnessed at water purification plants in different parts of the city while holding pots in hands but many of them go back home with empty gallons and tubs due to water shortage.

Similarly, the inhabitants of Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards are also living without water while the civic bodies have failed to supply the basic commodity to the residents, sparking protests and agitations. The areas where the citizens are facing acute water shortage include Morgah, Officers Colony, Kotha Kallan, Jari, Jhamra, Dhoke Nawaz, Gulshanabad, Kalyal, Shahpur, Dehgal, Adiala, Landco, Rehman Markaz, Sanjoli State, Rukhshanda Masjid, Kehkashan Colony, Jarahi, Janjua Town, Dhoke Baildar, Khayaban-e-Jinnah, Ali Town, Munawar Colony, Hill View, Mumtaz Market, Dhama Syedan, Sadiq Town, Kohsar Colony, Khatana, Sher Zaman Colony, Jorian, Dhamial, Hayyal, Bunda Nagyal, Chakri Road, Quaid-e-Azam Colony, Ahmedabad, Bakra Mandi, Dhoke Syedan, Baraf Khana Chowk, Misrial Road, IJP Road, Pirwadhai, Sadiqabad, Shakrial, Muslim Town, Chah Sultan, Waris Khan, Iqbal Road, Raja Bazaar and many other localities.

People are living without water for the last many days but Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) and local politicians are paying no heed towards the lingering issue, said Malik Nawaz, a resident of Mumtaz Market. He said they had protested against water shortage three days ago but nobody took notice of it.

“Water is not available anywhere as I am running from pillar to post in search of water. One tanker owner offers me to buy water against Rs4,000. It is too costly,” said Babar Khan of Ali Town.

“Dhama Syedan, Ali Town, Ziarat Baba Miran Mustafa and Khatana Village are without water for many months but WASA and local politicians failed to solve the issue,” said many residents while talking to The Nation. The mismanagement on part of the civic body is the main reason for the water shortage that hit our area badly, said Amina Bibi and Kulsoom Akhter. The two ladies were trying to find out a water tank in Misrial. WASA said that efforts would be made to make Ghazi-Barotha Water Supply Project functional for the garrison city as soon as possible.

Ziaullah Shah, the newly appointed WASA chairman and former PML-N MPA from Rawalpindi, said that the water shortage had become a big issue in the city and he would play his role in getting more water for the residents.

In a press release, the WASA chairman said that he would soon meet Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and would ask him for starting work on the Ghazi-Barotha project soon. A lot of residents had approached Shah complaining against water shortage. The residents of urban and cantonment areas and suburbs have been suffering from water scarcity since March. Light rainfall in last winter had further aggravated the situation. WASA gets water from three resources; Rawal Dam, Khanpur Dam, and tube wells. The city requires 60 million gallons of water every day and the agency had so far been able to provide 56 million gallons as its full capacity. The situation is very bad in Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards. The water situation is worst on the suburbs, which lack a proper water supply scheme.