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ISLAMABAD: Though the latest rain spell is good news for residents of Rawalpindi as the level of water in Rawal Dam - the main source of water for the garrison city - rose to the maximum level, residents of Islamabad will have to wait for more rain in the catchment areas of Simly Dam for water supply to improve.

Officials of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) Dawn spoke to said that it rained more in Islamabad than it did in the catchment areas of Simly Dam, i.e. New Murree. They said the rain on Monday slightly raised the water level in Simly Dam.

“The water level before was 2,269 and it reached up to 2,272 feet,” MCI Director Water Supply Nasir Jamil Butt said.

He said the maximum level of the dam is 2,315 feet. He said if the dam does not fill to its capacity during the current monsoon, there will be water shortage in the city in the coming months.

However, he said, it is likely the dam will fill in the coming days.

Simly Dam is the main source of water for the urban population of the capital city in addition to Khanpur Dam and tubewells. The city needs 110 million gallons per day (MGD) of water for its urban areas and is currently being supplied 60MGD by MCI.

Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz said the Ghazi Barotha project will help eliminate the water shortage issue on a permanent basis as it will provide 100MGD each for Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

According to a statement, the mayor said during a meeting with a Chinese delegation that the provision of sufficient water to residents of the federal capital is among the top priorities of MCI.

He told the delegation that the government had approved the provision of water from Ghazi Barotha Project and that work on the project will be started after the completion of necessary formalities.

He said the existing water supply network which was installed in the 1960s is now dilapidated and that a large quantity of water is wasted every day due to leaks. The mayor said these lines will be fixed soon.

The Ghazi Barotha Project has been pending for a long time and MCI does not have money for the mega project worth Rs70 billion which is expected to overcome the water shortage in Islamabad for the next 50 years.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018