Water scarcity puts people at the mercy of tankers’ mafia




With summer season around the corner, Islamabad is once again in the grip of severe water shortage as water supply to many residential sectors have drastically decreased and many water boreholes in Sector G-11, G-10, G-13, F-11, E-11, D-12 and other sectors have gone dry due to lower water level.

Many residents of newly-developed sectors have been left at the mercy of tankers mafia. According to Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) minister, Islamabad on average needs 70 mgd (Million gallons per day) while a water shortage of 17 MGD is observed most of the time around the year. The lag between supply and demand is filled mostly by the government and private water tankers. Also out of around 200 tube wells located in different sectors of capital around one-third remain dysfunctional and await necessary repairs.

During the tenure of former CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari, more than a decade ago a mega project to bring water from Indus River via Tarbela Dam was approved that once completed would have sorted out water woes of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. However, the project was shelved then and plans are afoot to revive it.

‘It has become an annual ritual that we perform every year during these months. The water supply either all together stops or becomes so less and infrequent that we have no other option but to pay Rs 1,000 to 1,500 per water tanker to private water suppliers. I’ve been living in G-13 for the last 6 years, we tried water boring but to no avail, the water level is very low. I request that authorities take prompt action and resolve this issue,’ said Syed Khurram, a businessman and resident of Sector G-13, one of the worst hit localities by water crisis in capital.

It is pertinent to mention here that scarcity of water is nothing new for citizens of Islamabad as they have grown accustomed to it during recent years while civic authorities have utterly failed to address the issue.

After transfer of powers and many key directorates including water supply from CDA to Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) last year there were hopes that the local representatives will go extra mile to rid their voters of this nuisance. However, even after Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz was given additional charge of CDA Chairman, which he still holds, the situation deteriorated further.

‘CDA is trying all in its capacity to alleviate the water supply issues. However, due to less than usual rainfall this year, water in the dams haven’t filled to the brim and thus we lag behind in fulfilling the demand,’ said CDA spokesperson Mazhar Hussain when contacted by Pakistan Today. Hussain said that water tankers of CDA are working 24/7 to supply water at highly subsidized costs to residents of Islamabad. ‘You’ll see situation improving to a great deal in coming days,’ he concluded.