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ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has decided to take steps to build at least five water reservoirs in the capital in light of suggestions made in a high level consultative meeting last month.

According to the minutes of a high-level consultative meeting on June 27, 2018, the chief justice urged the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and Islamabad Capital Territory administration to construct small dams in the capital to cope with the shortage of water in the capital.

The meeting was held on water crises in the country, during which the capital’s water shortage also came under discussion.

Chief Metropolitan Officer Syed Najaf Iqbal, who attended the consultative meeting last month, said the MCI has decided to take steps, conditional on the release of funding as the MCI does not presently have funds, to build water reservoirs in various areas, particularly the Margalla Hills, in light of the suggestions made at the meeting.

A project for integrated water management systems is also being prepared to cope with the growing challenges of the shortage.

At a consultative meeting, CJP urges MCI, ICT to construct small dams to cope with water shortage

As a short term solution, the MCI wants to replace and repair old and damaged water lines to prevent leaks, he said.

In the long term, efforts are being made to secure funding from the federal government or from donor organisations such as the World Bank to begin the conduction of water from Tarbela Dam. Once completed, the Rs77 billion will supply 100MGD each to Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Sources in the MCI, quoting the recently issued minutes of the meeting, said former CDA member engineering Shahid Sohail told participants that the capital’s urban areas require 111 million gallons of water per day (MGD).

He said the water storage capacity of both dams in Islamabad needs to be increased and told the concerned authorities to improve the transmission of water to Islamabad.

He told the meeting that a study conducted on this issue had recommended the construction of five dams in Islamabad, but later just two sites were recommended for the dams. There is presently just one available site for the construction of a dam – Noorpur Shahan, he said.

Naseer Gillani, the senior chief technical at the Planning Commission, said during the meeting that Chirah Dam was potential water storage project for Islamabad that could not be completed due to a dispute between the ICT administration and the Punjab government.

Mr Gillani said that in light of the water shortage crises, the project needs to be completed without any more delays.

Law and Justice Commission Secretary Dr Mohammad Raheem Awan had claimed that housing societies were trying to stop the construction of dams in the capital and suggesting strict action against any construction settlements hindering the construction of dams in Islamabad.

Dr Awan also suggested restoring the previously practiced pond system by directing housing societies to construct a reservoir on 5pc of the total area of the development.

Islamabad’s urban residents are currently provided approximately 60MGD, compared to their requirement of 111MGD. Rural areas, which are home to half of the capital’s population, require almost 100MGD but are relying either on bore water or old water supply schemes that were launched by local government departments before the formation of the MCI.

G-7, G-8, G-9, G-10, I-10 and I-9 in particular are facing an acute shortage, with I-10, I-9 and G-10 being the worst hit.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018