Water crisis looms over Pindi, Islamabad

Published June 1, 2022
Water in Khanpur Dam has receded due to lack of substantial rain in the region. — Dawn
Water in Khanpur Dam has receded due to lack of substantial rain in the region. — Dawn

TAXILA: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Rawalpindi cantonment boards may have to start water rationing as water level in Khanpur Dam has dropped to just 24 feet above the dead level.

An Official at the reservoir pointed out that there had been a massive decrease in the inflow of water due to the prevailing hot and dry weather. He added: “Now, even Haro River, which feeds the dam, has started drying up.”

He said the dam would not be able to provide water for drinking purposes to people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad after July if the situation persisted.

According to a Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) official, Pakistan was on the brink of becoming a water-scarce nation due to constant rise in temperature and climate change. These issues demand improved water pricing and governance so that the threat of water shortage could be averted.

Water level in the dam reservoir on Tuesday was 1,934 feet above mean sea level (AMSL), which is only 24 feet above the dead level, another official said, adding this amount is sufficient for only one month if there was no rain.

He said the total storage capacity of the dam is 1,982 feet above mean sea level (AMSL), adding due to supply of water to different beneficiaries, the water level was decreasing by 0.1 foot per day and the outflow of 121 cusecs per day was much higher than the daily inflow of water.

“Due to the low level of water in the dam, the supply for irrigation purposes to both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab has already reduced,” he added.

It has been observed that the lake has almost dried up; underground rocks and the dam’s bed have become visible at different points. Water sports and picnicking activities have also reduced at the dam.

Talking to Dawn, a local boat operator said business had declined due to low level of water, adding that he saw tourists only on weekends.

Farooq Shah, who owns a makeshift hotel on the bank of the lake said: Sales of local hotel owners have declined.”

He added that his daily sales used to be Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 per day but now they have gone down to around Rs5,000 to Rs7,000 per day.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2022

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