RAWALPINDI, June 15: Heavy machinery engaged in widening a section of the Peshawar Road in the city damaged the main water pipeline on Friday, cutting off water supply to a densely populated area for at least three days.
“National Logistic Cell (NLC) excavator damaged the water supply line during the construction work,” said Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) Cantonment Executive Officer Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan while talking to Dawn.
National Logistic Cell (NLC) is working on Punjab government funded Peshawar Road widening project costing Rs530 million from Chur Chowk to Chairing Cross. Punjab Highway Department is the executing agency.
He said prior to start of the construction work the RCB had informed the NLC about the presence of the supply lines of 12 and six inches diameter in the area and had even provided it maps.
He said that they had also advised the construction company against disturbing the water supply lines and asked them that the RCB would relocate it before the start of the work.
But the NLC did not inform the RCB about the start of the work hence the damage, leaving Misrial Road, Westridge, Siham, Lane No. 4, 5, 6 and 7 without water, he said.
“The repair of the supply line will take two days and during this period the area will not get water and they would provide the commodity through tankers,” he said.
Apart from this, the drinking water shortage is looming large over the garrison city as the water level in Khanpur Dam is just 16 feet above the dead level which, experts said, is sufficient for next 20 days. At present, the water level in the dam is 1926 feet.
The dam is one of the main water reservoirs of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It supplied 17 million gallon daily (MGD) to Rawalpindi and 10 MGD to Islamabad.
Due to the shortage of water, the Capital Development Authority (CDA), which manages the Sangjani Filtration Plant, has curtailed the water supply to Rawalpindi city and cantonment from 17 MGD to 11 MGD for the last two weeks.
However, the CDA has called the meeting of all the three civic bodies, CDA, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) on Monday to chalk out a plan to further curtail water supply.
Meanwhile, the residents of different localities of cantonment are already facing water shortage as the RCB provides water for half an hour after the gap of two days. The worst affected areas are Naseerabad, Chur Chowk, Siham, Allahabad, Westridge, Misrial Road, Tench Bhatta and Gowalmandi.
They said if such situation persisted what would be the state of affairs in July especially during the fasting month of Ramazan.
Imran Qayyum, a resident of Gowalmandi, said well-off managed to get water tanker at Rs1,000 but the poor of the area fetch water on foot from nearby areas.
He said that the people had to queue up before the tankers in the mornings and evenings to fill buckets of water.
Farooq Ahmed, a resident of street No 9, Misrial Road, said that new water supply lines have been laid but the water had not been released in them.
“The water supply was always erratic but it was worse this week. On Thursday and Friday, there was no water at all. On Wednesday, we got water for only ten minutes,” said Mehmood Ahmed, a resident of Saadi Road.
“Regular water supply is non-existent since the summer started. We have been getting water once in three days. There is enough water in reservoirs and due to mismanagement of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, the residents are rely on water tankers,” said Kamran Ahmed, a resident of Mall Plaza.