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Irregular Water Supply Issue in Islamabad Remains Unresolved

Despite the already irregular water supply in the federal capital, the situation is set to get worse as summer approaches.

Nearly a decade since the problem began; the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not been able to come up with a concrete solution to water scarcity in the city. Instead, the authority still supplies water through tankers, an ineffective and controversial solution in the eyes of Islamabad’s residents.

When asked about the situation in Islamabad’s sectors, CDA Water Management director general Ali Murad said tankers have been supplying residents with water day and night and the authority is doing everything in its capacity to alleviate the shortage.

He said the CDA’s helplines are open 24/7, and the authority is responding promptly to complaints filed by residents.

Waseem Abbas, a G-10 resident, said: ‘We are facing a lot of problems due to the shortage of water for the past month.”

The water shortage is not only a problem for the city’s urban areas, as residents in rural areas – particularly in Ali Pur, Tarlai Kalan and Bhara Kahu – have also turned to private tankers to fulfill their requirements for water.

Mr Abbas said the CDA supplies water through its own tankers, but it is difficult to get a hold of them. He said the tankers mostly provide water to people who are well-connected. Bureaucrats, police officials and business professionals are provided tankers on a priority basis. He said the rest of population is at the mercy of an uncertain water supply or on private tanker services, which supply water at exorbitant rates.

Mr Murad said one of CDA’s turbines was out of order, and was sent to Lahore for maintenance. He said it has since been fixed and will become operational in a few days.

He said 34 water tankers are ready at all times to give citizens a respite from the shortage. He said illegal service stations operating in the G, F and I sectors are also aggravating the situation.

Ever-increasing water boring has also contributed to the situation by disturbing the capital’s water table, and the water level has been falling rapidly.

One can spot water boring carried out by residents as well as by government officials.

A resident of G-13, Dr Ijaz Ahmed, said people have been utilising their own sources to fulfil their water needs.

He said residents were paying a heavy cost for water boring, which has depleted water resources, and water theft at leakage points was another factor that was exacerbating the shortage.

He demanded that the authorities give the practice attention, and control leakages at various points.

The director of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Mohammad Hanif, said climate change has contributed to the water shortage, particularly the underground water level. He advised that the concerned authorities adopt preventive measures in this regard.

Mr Murad said G-13 was not under the CDA’s domain as the Housing Foundation had taken charge of it a few months ago and was now responsible.

He said the Housing Foundation could never deal with issues like water, electricity, gas and maintenance as efficiently as the CDA.

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