WASA confident to tackle monsoon challenges

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Despite huge damage by the recent downpour, the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) is still very confident to counter the upcoming monsoon rains in the city, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The city suffered badly during the recent rain which raises questions regarding the efficiency of WASA to tackle such situations.
IN 2012, WASA proposed Rs 447 million for fuel, generator rents, public awareness programmes, winch machines and training of officials. But the agency was provided only Rs 264 million.
According to WASA documents, there are 99 pumps and 87 lift stations in the city. From 200 to 250 officials are available who work in 3 shifts to keep the system running.
There are 12 major disposal units in the provincial capital. Those declared most dangerous during monsoon season are Shadbagh, Gulshan Ravi, Nishat Colony, Lakhodair, Bhaati Gate, Mehmood Booti, Outfall Road, Multan Road and Farkhabad.
This year, WASA has proposed Rs 288 million for monsoon arrangements, but the actual situation gives a different look.
A source at WASA claimed that 60 percent of the pumps at disposal units were not properly working. The pumps, having low suction capacity and many of them were without required batteries, he added.
On the other hand, the field staff is hired on contract basis and most of them were non-technical which resulted in poor performance. The disposal units at Mehmood Booti and Outfall Road have a capacity of 25 cusecs, but the requirement is 65 cusecs as they cover a large area, he further added.
An official said that draining out of the water accumulated at Lakshmi Chowk and other low-lying residential and commercial localities was a difficult task.
“These are very tough days for us as we really struggle to drain out the rainwater. In some areas, there are pumps which have generators and many of them are not in the working condition,” he added.
WASA Managing Director Dr Javaid Iqbal said, “Now we are very confident and we do have coordination with the Met Office and the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC). We have also sent a Rs 288 million summary for monsoon arrangements.”
“We have marked our most important disposal units in the provincial capitals which are mostly in low-line areas and our resources are now well enough to counter the rainfall in the better way than before,” he added.
He said all sewage systems in these areas were out of order and the rainwater of Misri Shah and nearby areas drained through Mehmood Booti, which was not enough to drain heavy torrents. Iqbal said rainwater of the Walled City and Gowalmandi is drained through Lakshmi Chowk drain.
The Met Office official said, “Lahore and its adjacent areas are the windows and the frontline of the monsoon in the country. Lahore is the provincial capital but no proper arrangements are made during monsoon seasons. We always coordinate with the district government and WASA about the forecast and they should take measures before rains.” He said during monsoon 120 to 170 millimeters of rain was recorded.