ISLAMABAD: After the removal of illegal water hydrants in Malpur, operators of private commercial water tanker services have found another source of water, from near the main pipe from Simly Dam, close to the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).
The enforcement directorate of Capital Development Authority (CDA)/ Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) on Wednesday closed down two illegal water hydrants in Malpur, with support from a heavy contingent of police. Operators of these water hydrants had been selling water to private water tankers for the last many months.
Sources said that soon after the closure of these hydrants, water tankers moved on to the spot near QAU, where the Simly Dam supply line is.
Tanker operators claim they are filling water from water in the stream. However, the water line had been broken by unknown elements for the purpose of stealing water in the past at the exact same spot and was later repaired by MCI.
The issue of water theft can therefore not be ruled out this time as well as water is being filled, with the help of a pipe and generator, from the same spot.
During a visit of the site, Dawn noticed a pond of water on the other side of the road from which water flows under the road and onto the side from where the water is filled and where the main supply line for Islamabad’s urban population crosses.
A private water tanker charges between Rs2,000 and Rs4,000 per trip and sources in the MCI said many tankers provide water to various diplomatic missions for gardening as well.
The growing population of the capital city has been facing a water shortage for the last many years. Currently, the urban population is being supplied around 55 to 60 million gallons of water daily when they require 111MGD. Some 40pc of the water is wasted before it reaches the population.
MCI sources stressed on the need for keeping a check on points along the supply line to stop water theft and that there have been complaints of water theft from the same spot in the past as well.
The officials said that even if the supply line is not broken and the private tankers are not stealing water from the pipe, they still cannot fill water for commercial use from the stream, which passes through QAU land, as it feeds into Rawal Dam.
When contacted, MCI Director Water Supply Nasir Jamil Butt said he will look into the issue.
“If our line is damaged, we will fix it as we did in the past. And we will take action against water tanker operators even if they are filling water from the stream near the line,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2018