ISLAMABAD: Despite increasing the amount of water supplied by Simly Dam to the city, the capital’s administration has failed to resolve the shortage of water in Islamabad.

The Metropolitan Corporation (MCI) recently increased the supply of water from Simly Dam to 24.5 million gallons per day (MGD) from 19.5MGD, but there has been no decrease in public complaints in this regard.

MCI officials Dawn spoke to believe that hundreds of new connections from the main water line in union councils such as Pind Bagwal, Bhara Kahu and Kot Hatyal had resulted in a shortage of water in the urban areas.

MCI officials blame water shortage in urban area on new connections in various union councils

Dawn noted a large number of connections from the main line during visits to these areas.

There were dozens of connections on the supply line from the dam at Kayani Road, from Bhara Kahu to near Quaid-i-Azam University.

Source said locals had established the connections with the support of local government representatives.

In Malpur, private individuals have setup a water hydrant from which water is supplied to tanker owners.

“I agree that there have still been a lot of complaints despite increasing the supply, but we are hopeful that the situation will improve after Ramazan,” Chief Metropolitan Officer Syed Najaf Iqbal said.

“We had to increase to supply of water from 19.5 to 24.5MGD just to meet people’s maximum demands,” he added.

When asked about the new connections on the main line, Mr Iqbal said this was a chronic issue.

“We will start action against all illegal connections after Eid,” he said. Islamabad’s urban areas require 110MGD, against which the MCI provides 55 to 60MGD.

The shortage has particularly affected residents of G-6, G-7, G-8, G-9, G-10 and F-6, as well as sectors that rely on tubewells for the water supply, such as I-10, I-9 and I-8.

MCI officials told Dawn that around 30 tubewells are currently out of order, and the supply of water to the I sectors will improve once the tubewells have been fixed.

One official confirmed that 30 out of 192 tubewells are out of order. The Supreme Court recently took notice of water scarcity in the country. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) recently, on a directive from the court, formed a committee of the deputy directors of land and water supply to check illegal connections and water hydrants in the capital.

Islamabad, which now has a population of over 2 million, has faced a shortage of water for around two decades, but little attention has been given to finding new water sources.

The Ghazi Barotha water project, which has been in the pipeline for 10 years, is believed by many to be a way to bring some relief to the water issue, as it is designed to provide 100MGD to Rawalpindi and Islamabad each.

However, the MCI and CDA lack the funding to begin the project, which has a total estimated cost of Rs70 billion.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2018