Adequate water for twin cities for next two months

Published June 13, 2021
Silhouette of visitors to Rawal Lake can be seen as the sun sets in the background. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Silhouette of visitors to Rawal Lake can be seen as the sun sets in the background. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: While most national water reservoirs are depleting amid high heat with the arrival of summer, the key water body of the twin cities has adequate supply for up to two months even if pre-monsoon rainfall gets delayed.

Situated in the heart of Islamabad, the 8.8-square-kilometre Rawal Dam is far from drying out. Instead, officials are planning for operations to open the dam’s spillways in coming weeks as water is likely to be filled to capacity soon.

Talking to Dawn, a senior officer of the Punjab Irrigation Department said there was no threat to the water supply of 25 million gallons daily (MGD) from Rawal Dam for the next 60 days. Out of the 25MGD of water, 23MGD is meant for Rawalpindi and 2MGD for Islamabad.

“The current water level in the dam is 1,742.90 feet and the dead level is 1,708 feet, therefore, there is no immediate threat to water supply for Rawalpindi and Islamabad,” the officer added.

Despite mercury hovering above 40°C during the week and evaporation of surface water, the level was sufficient in the lake.

The sudden change of winds on Friday reduced the surface water loss as well, which helped preserve water.

“We areexpecting a rain spell in the coming days, andeven if downpour is in limited quantity in Murree area, the lake will replenish,” an irrigation department officer said.

The Met Office has predicted three spells of rain during the third and fourth week of June, which will increase water level before the arrival of monsoon spell in July.

The main source of inflow into Rawal Dam is the Korang River while some small streams from the hills of Murree around Ghora Gali add to the water level.

Heavy spells of monsoon rain start in northern Punjab after the first week of July that will continue up till the second week of September, and during this period the

spillways of Rawal Dam are opened regularly so that excess water can be released from the lake, which has the capacity to hold water up to 1,752 feet.

Rawal Dam was built in 1962 by the Punjab government after it was decided that the country’s new capital needed a reservoir as an addition to the beauty of the city.

However, since the water in the dam comes from Punjab through Korang River and streams of Murree, the bulk of it is supplied to Rawalpindi and only 2MGD to the federal capital.

The lake as well as the dam structure is still managed by the Small Dams Organisation (SDO), an attached department of Punjab Irrigation Department.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021

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