Residents of various localities in Rawalpindi are facing acute water shortages due to the depleted reserves of Rawal and Simly dams and power outages that have rendered almost all tube-wells dysfunctional.
Long queues were witnessed at water filtration plants on Wednesday as extensive load-shedding means residents have been left with fewer options to meet their daily requirements. Among other areas, Pirwadhai and Farooqia Colony were reported to be the worst affected.
“We have complained to the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) about the water shortages,” said Afzal, a resident of Dheri Hasanabad.
In most areas, residents are being forced to purchase water tankers costing around Rs1,400.
“Our tube-well, which has been dysfunctional since last week, has not been repaired despite repeated demands,” said Iqbal, a resident of Satellite Town.
A Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) official requesting anonymity said the garrison city’s major water suppliers were dangerously low on reserves. “Simly Dam and Rawal Lake have only two months’ worth of water left, a situation that may worsen during dry weather periods,” he said. RCB Chief Executive Officer Rana Manzoor said that the board was doing its best to mitigate further shortages. “There is enough water in Khanpur Dam to provide for consumers in areas falling within the dam’s jurisdiction, but the RCB is trying to extend the coverage to all areas,” he said.
“We have asked the government not to install tube-wells, but doing so is clearly an easy way to deceive voters,” said Khan a local, adding that there were now 360 tube-wells in Rawalpindi, as compared to 1996 when there were only 96.
Khan said the twin cities would continue to suffer from droughts if long-term water projects were not implemented.
Wasa has resumed work on the previously abandoned overhead reservoirs projects in Dhoke Mangtal and Pirwadhai, which are aimed at providing drinking water to 50,000 Pirwadhai and Farooqia Colony residents, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2013.