ISLAMABAD, Feb 26: What seems like good news for residents of Rawalpindi, the Cabinet Division on Tuesday assured the Supreme Court that the water being supplied from Rawal Lake was fit for human consumption.
The dam is a water source for nearly two million residents of the garrison city.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, after perusing the report, decided to dispose of the case, since no further action was required.
The Supreme Court had taken a suo motu on the contamination in Rawal Dam.
“It has been reported by Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Punjab that drinking water being provided to the inhabitants of Rawalpindi and Cantonment Area is fit for human consumption,” said a joint report submitted before the apex court by Special Secretary of Cabinet Division Shahidullah Baig.
Other signatories of the one-page statement were MD Wasa Rawalpindi Shaukat Mehmood and Director-General Environment Protection Agency Farooq Hameed Sheikh.
The dam was developed before Islamabad was planned and inaugurated in 1960 to supply drinking water to the citizens of Rawalpindi.
Constructed on Korang River in 1960, Rawal Dam is the main source of water for Rawalpindi City and Cantonment areas.
The dam has a catchment area of 275 square km that provides 84,000 acre feet of water.
Four major and 43 small streams contribute in the storage of water in the lake.
On June 5, 2012, the Supreme Court had ordered the federal as well as EPA Punjab to monitor Rawal Lake on a regular basis to ensure that it remained free from contamination and pollution by regularly visiting the dam.
The direction to monitor the water quality was issued after it had been brought to the notice of the apex court at the previous hearings by the Wasa that 25 housing colonies were discharging sewage into the Rawal Dam.
According to the authorities, the housing colonies were: Golf City Bahria Town, Atomic Energy Employees Cooperative Housing Colony, OGDC Housing Colony, Country Residencia Apartments, Godha Gali, Tret Village, Salgran Village, Bidhawa Village, DESTO Lab, Madina Town, Al Noor Colony, Lakhwal Village, Dhoke Jilani, Shahdra Kass Area, PTV Housing Colony, Belgium Town, Margalla View housing Colony, Snober Village, Najaf Colony, Judicial Colony Chattar, Bani Gala Town, Bara Kahu, Bari Imam/Noor Pur Shah, Quaid-i-Azam University and Diplomatic Enclave.
These colonies are located in the jurisdiction of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Murree.
Later the court ordered the local authorities to launch a campaign to block the dumping of effluents and sewage in the lake.
On Tuesday the Cabinet Secretary stated in the statement that test results of drinking water from the dam verified that the quality of drinking water was fit for human consumption, adding Wasa Rawalpindi had daily checked water quality being supplied to Rawalpindi Cantonment and other areas.
The water was regularly counter checked by Environment Protection Agency, which showed that the water quality was fit for human consumption.
For effective monitoring, the report said, Wasa had been directed to submit water quality report on a weekly basis to the Rawal Lake Monitoring Committee for counter checks.