GILGIT: The residents of Skardu are expected to face severe water shortage as the water level in Sadpara dam has fallen to a dead level.

The dam, southwest of Skardu, is the city’s only water source which caters to the residents’ drinking, irrigation and other needs and also generates electricity.

Due to the shortage, drinking water is being supplied to Skardu town only during sehri and iftar hours.

A local, Shakoor Abdullah, told Dawn that currently, Skardu residents were facing power outages of up to 22 hours while no drinking water was being supplied for 20 hours.

The water shortage has become more serious since the start of Ramazan, said Ishaq Jalal, who is one of the approximately one million residents of Skardu.

He said locals only get drinking water during sehri and iftar hours. Mr Jalal said the only solution to overcome the shortage was the diversion of water from nearby streams into the dam. “Unfortunately, the plan was yet to be materialised even after many decades.”

Locals have criticised Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) officials for mismanagement and failing to ensure water and power supply to Skardu.

A Wapda official told Dawn that currently, the water level in Sadpara dam has fallen to a dead level.

“Following the decrease in water level, drinking water is being supplied to Skardu at particular hours,” he said.

The official said the dam receives water from melting glaciers during the summer season. The inflows remain normal from May to October, enough for electricity generation and to fulfil irrigation and drinking water needs.

However from October to May, inflows reduce considerably and the officials rely on stored water to fulfil the needs of locals, the Wapda official told Dawn.

The official added that last summer, the water flow from melting Glaciers remained irregular due to bad weather. Therefore, the dam couldn’t be filled to the maximum level.

The official said low water levels also reduced the water discharge which affects the power generation from the Hydro Power Station leading to load shedding. He warned that the shortage was expected to last till May as the reservoir is already at the dead level and it will improve only after the glaciers start melting in summer.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2023

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