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RAWALPINDI: A revised plan for the third phase of the Khanpur Dam water supply project will be presented to the Ministry of Planning and Development so that it may be completed this year.

A senior Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) official told Dawn the revised plan is being presented to the ministry so that the federal government releases Rs58 million for the project.

The Rs880m Khanpur Dam water supply project was launched nine years ago to build water storage tanks and lay 19 kilometre water lines to provide drinking water to civilian residents of the cantonment from Khanpur Dam. It was to be completed in October 2012, but remains unfinished to this day.

Under the project, the RCB had to build 12 overhead water tanks in various areas, including Aliabad, Naseerabad, Adra, Tipu Road, Dhoke Chiraghdin, Chungi No.22, 502 Workshop and Dhoke Chaudharian.

The RCB official said construction for the project is almost complete, but the main line still needs to be connected to the supply system in the Chaklala cantonment. He said permission has been sought to cross the G.T. Road near the district courts.

Another RCB official told Dawn that the project will not end the water shortage facing the cantonment areas, as it will not increase water supply and will still rely on tubewells.

He explained that more than 10 overhead and underground water tanks will be filled using tubewells under the project, as it will not increase the water supply.

The RCB currently receives 9 million gallons of water daily (MGD) from Khanpur Dam, while the Water and Sanitation Agency receives 6 MGD and the Capital Development Authority receives 10 MGD. The twin cities are supplied a total of 25 MGD.

The cantonment areas require 38 MGD of water, the official said.

He said that the project will increase the number of water reservoirs but not the capacity of the main water source. He said one way to increase the water supply to the twin cities would be to end leaks in the canal from Khanpur Dam to the Sangjani filtration plant, which was ignored in the project.

The official added that water from Khanpur is better than that supplied from Rawal Dam because it is not polluted and comes from the main streams in the mountains, while Rawal Dam is polluted by settlements around the lake.

He said the government should provide funding to improve the condition of the main canal from Khanpur to the Sangjani filtration plant.

RCB spokesperson Qaisar Mehmood was not available for comment despite repeated attempts. However, the senior RCB official said the RCB was working to complete the project in order to end the water shortage in the coming summer.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019