MURREE: Contaminated water filled with mud and debris is being supplied to residents and tourists in Murree as water tanks - the only source of water storage in the city - have not been cleaned since long, sources in the town’s administration confirmed.
The 100,000 people living in Murree along with millions of tourists, who visit the city on a regular basis, use water that is supplied from tanks located at Kashmir Point.
The water in these tanks is stored from Dhar Java, Khani Tak and Dunga Gali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The water storage and supply system in Dunga Gali was established by the British around 120 years ago and 70pc of the water being used by people in Murree is being supplied through this system.
A mega water project — Jhelum Bulk Water Supply Scheme — was initiated in 2004 by the then chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Ellahi but work on the project was stopped by the PML-N government even though Rs3 billion were spent on it.
Local PTI leaders and candidates, during the election campaigns in 2018, raised the issue but after coming into power they too failed to restart work on the project.
Soil from excavations at ongoing constructions across the city is being dumped along road roadsides which is the reason downward water sources are getting contaminated. This mud and soil mixes with water in streams and reaches sources of clean water including Khani Tak making it hazardous for people to use in their daily lives.
Employees of the Murree administration and health department are seen consuming water from bores at various hotels or drinking mineral water which is expensive, said senior journalist Atiq Abbasi.
Upon being contacted, Health Inspector Rana Karamat said samples of water had been collected and sent for testing at the National Institute of Health Islamabad and a government laboratory in Lahore.
Their reports are awaited. After the results are received, measures will be taken accordingly, he added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Zahid Hussain, who additionally holds the office of administrator Murree, told Dawn that a TMA laboratory was established years ago in the city and water was being tested there. He said water is also being tested at CMH as military settlements are using 40pc of the water from tanks.
However, he said, samples of water for comprehensive testing have been sent to other laboratories.
Chlorination is being carried out and by the end of summer, water tanks will be emptied and cleaned properly, he said, adding the forest department has been directed to take action against those throwing mud in jungles and catchments of water sources.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2020