Water tanker mafia making hay while the sun shines


ISLAMABAD: As was feared by many residents and experts, the capital city is under the grip of acute water shortage during the month of Ramzan as many of its sectors’ citizens are at the mercy of private tanker mafia and are made to pay exorbitant prices for a single tanker and the city managers have failed to address the core issues pertaining to procurement and distribution of water in the city.

Water woes in many sectors and rural areas of Islamabad have aggravated during the month of Ramzan. With the spike in the water consumption during the holy month and insufficient capacity of government tankers to cater to an ever increasing need, residents are left at the mercy of private tankers who charge as much as 3,500 rupees for a tanker that ordinarily costs anywhere between 800 to 1,500 rupees.

In past few years the citizens, during the month of Ramzan, residents of Islamabad had been left at the mercy of tanker mafia who demanded exorbitant prices for a single tank ranging anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 rupees.

While water levels in Simly dam had improved due to rainfall before Ramzan, mismanagement of water resources by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) led to poor water supply during the fasting month.

The major reason behind the debilitating water woes was the decision of Directorate of Water Supply to make serious cuts to water supply, down to 55 million gallons per day from 120 million gallons.
Water supply from Simly and Khanpur Dam would either have to be completely cut off or reduced to a bare minimum as water levels are nearing dead levels with no further rainfall in sight.

The water woes in recent years have become a regular occurrence during summers. This year, even at the end of March, Islamabad was once again in the grip of severe water shortage as water supply to many residential sectors had drastically decreased and many water boreholes in Sector G-11, G-10, G-13, F-11, E-11, D-12 and other sectors had gone dry due to lower water level.

Water scarcity in Islamabad peaks in summers and starts to ease from September onwards. In the past few years it has been observed that even in the month of October many sectors including G-11, G-13, G-14 and I sectors faced water shortage and many residents either opted for water boring or paying hefty prices to both private and CDA water tankers.

Islamabad, both rural and urban areas combined, has a daily demand of more than 200 million gallons per day. This demand is met from Khanpur Dam, Simly Dam and various tube wells installed in and around capital.

Authorities at CDA and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), when contacted, said that the main reason behind shortage of water is increase in temperature, more consumption of water and early onset of summer.