79% water schemes in Punjab providing contaminated water

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Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Tuesday revealed that 79 percent water sources of the functional water supply schemes in Northern and Central Punjab are unsafe for drinking purposes and microbiological contamination has been found in all water samples.
According to a report of technical survey conducted by PCRWR throughout the country, the quality of water being supplied to consumers through distribution system indicates that 88 percent of the functional schemes supply unsafe water for drinking.
The water supply schemes are providing piped water supply for drinking purposes to meet household needs and for other multiple uses to an enumerated population of 19.017 million through 2,408 surveyed water schemes.
More alarming situation is that 88 percent of the functional schemes are providing unsafe drinking water to the consumers. On province basis, the average water charges per scheme figure out to Rs 64/month.
Talking to APP, PCRWR Chairman Dr Muhammad Aslam Tahir said lack of proper management, operation and maintenance of the water supply systems is one of the critical issues of the water supply schemes. At present, the common problem encountered in the schemes is a complex of various institutional, financial and technological issues.
The survey manifests that awareness about the hazards of the unsafe drinking water and the importance of safe drinking water is totally negligible.
There appears no concept regarding use of safe water for drinking purposes, prevailing in the general public and among the managers of water supply schemes, as well. Most of the schemes have used GI pipe for the distribution system, the useful life of which is less than 20 years. It necessitates a programme of rehabilitation coupled with redesigning of water supply schemes in the district, he pointed out.
The PCRWR Chairman said water supply systems should be properly planned, constructed and maintained to minimise pollution in the system. The water storages at the source and at the consumers’ residences should be periodically cleaned, he added.
Water treatment and disinfection should be carried out before supplying it to the consumers. The focus on microbiological safety of water must be emphasised.
Dr Aslam Tahir said awareness about the importance of safe drinking water for healthy living should be created in the masses as well as in the staff associated with water supply schemes.
Moreover, measures are required to improve the scheme management, including revenue collection, to increase the income and make the schemes financially sustainable, he said.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day tomorrow: The International Information Society Day will be observed tomorrow (Thursday) across the world, including Pakistan, to remind the world of the vision of the World Summit on the information society to build a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society based on fundamental human rights.
The theme for 2012 is ‘Women and Girls in ICT.’ Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the UN charter. Access to information and communication technologies, the United Nations says, empowers women and girls to take their rightful place as equals in the world.
The theme aims to ensure that this vulnerable female half of the world’s population will march forward as equals. The World Information Society Day promotes people’s awareness of the power of information and communication to build societies in which they can create, access, use and share information and knowledge to achieve their full potential.
Organisations such as UNESCO actively take part in the day by inviting people to engage in various activities to promote campaigns centered on this event. The annual observance of the World Telecommunication Day which marks the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865, drew attention to the work of ITU and the challenges of global communication.
In March 2006, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 17 as World Information Society Day to recognise the efforts made to advance communication and ITU’s role in helping people connect around the world.
Prior to the World Information Society Day, World Telecommunication Day, which was first held in 1969, was celebrated on May 17 by people and organisations such as ITU.
The purpose of this observance is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the internet and other information and communication technologies could bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.