CDA asks SDO to release water from Rawal Dam for Islamabad

Updated 17 Oct 2020

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SDO is the custodian of Rawal Dam which is located in Islamabad and supplying water to the residents of Rawalpindi. — File photo
SDO is the custodian of Rawal Dam which is located in Islamabad and supplying water to the residents of Rawalpindi. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has requested the Small Dam Organisation (SDO) to release water for Islamabad from Rawal Dam on an urgent basis.

Director Water Supply Mohammad Muazzam wrote a letter to the executive engineer of the SDO for Rawal Dam and Director General Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) Rawalpindi, requesting them for restoring water supply from the Rawal Dam, which was discontinued in the early ‘90s.

SDO is the custodian of Rawal Dam which is located in Islamabad and supplying water to the residents of Rawalpindi.

The letter dated Oct 14 stated: “I am directed to state that a due share of the capital city from Rawal Lake was discontinued in the nineties due to some reasons.” With the development of the city and an increase in its population, there has been a shortage of water in the capital, it added.

“Water supply directorate is facing difficulties to manage smooth supply of water due to unavailability of required quantity of water,” the letter said, adding in the wake of water shortage in federal capital, there is a dire need for provision of due share of water from Rawal Lake on an urgent basis.

Capital facing acute water shortage, civic body says in letter

“It is, therefore, requested that the water supply quota of Islamabad may please be restored at an urgent basis in order to meet the acute shortage of potable water in the federal capital.”

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed confirmed that the SDO had formally been requested for release of water for Islamabad.

Sources in the CDA said the civic agency wanted to get four million gallon of water daily (MGD) from Rawal Dam in two phases. In the first phase, it wants to get 2.5 MGD, which will be treated in a treatment plant set up near the polo ground. And later when CDA improves its capacity of storing and treating water, it wants to get the remaining 1.5 MGD.

The sources said CDA will also pay to the SDO against the water supply and the rate will be finalised at a later stage.

A CDA official said in the past the civic agency used to get water from Rawal Dam, but the practice was stopped in 1992 amid reports of contaminated water. The CDA used to treat the water at an exclusive plant located near the polo ground, Garden Avenue, but after 1992 the plant remained underutilised.

The federal capital has been facing water shortage particularly during the summer, as against the total requirement of 220 MGD, the residents are supplied only 65 to 70 MGD from decades-old sources - Simly Dam, which provides around 30 MGD, Khanpur Dam, six to eight MGD and tubewells.

But the CDA failed to explore new sources in accordance with the need of the growing population of the city. Currently, the population of the city is over 20 million.

The CDA has been trying to launch Ghazi Barotha water project, which once launched will be completed in at least five years to provide 100 MGD each to Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Currently, a feasibility study is being conducted for this project.

The matter related to getting from Rawal Dam surfaced on Monday when during a meeting the CDA chairman asked the water supply directorate about the possible source of water. He was informed that besides other sources the CDA could also get water form Rawal Dam.

The chairman directed the water supply directorate to take emergency measures to make the abandoned treatment plant functional and write to the SDO for releasing water for Islamabad.

CDA officials said even if two MGD is supplied from Rawal Dam, it would help the civic agency overcome water shortage in I-8, I-9 and I-10.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020