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People seek alternative water sources

July 30, 2012

RAWALPINDI, July 29: Water shortage through water supply network in the cantonment areas and increased rates of mineral water bottles has forced people to go for alternate sources, buying drinking water from private purification plants established in the area.

Due to shortage of water supply from Khanpur Dam and shortage of water filtration plants, the private purification plants are selling drinking water to residents and shopkeepers in Saddar area.

However, doctors asked the cantonment authorities to check these filtration plants as it will increase water borne diseases in the cantonment area.

There are more than 25 private water filtration plants established in the Saddar, Ahata Mitho Khan, Haider Road, Adam Jee Road, Canning Road, Chota Bazaars and adjoining areas.

The owners’ installed filtration plants provide free service to area residents and shopkeepers at Rs30 for a 5 litre bottle, Rs50 for a 10 litre bottle and Rs70 for a 15 litre bottle.

Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) are getting 5 Million Gallon Daily (MGD) from Khanpur Dam against the original supply of 11 MGD and 2.2 MGD water from 57 tube wells, which was insufficient to meet the requirement of 19 MGD.

Shopkeepers of Saddar — main business hub of the cantonment — told Dawn that they had been receiving little quantity of water for 30 minutes on alternate days, despite the fact that water consumption increases in summer.

Suhail Hafeez, a shopkeeper at Haider Road, said that he had bought water from these filtration plants daily because he had no time to go to a filtration plant, adjacent to Rawalpindi Cantonment Hospital to bring water for drinking purposes.

“If the civic body provided clean drinking water, then we will not go for an alternate source, as mineral water bottles were beyond the range of our pockets,” said Naveed Asghar.

During visit to some of these filtration plants, this reporter witnessed that the owner was getting water from a sub-standard water filtration plant.

The workers filled the bottles and supplied to the shops, while claiming that the water was neat and clean as its colour and odour proved that it was not contaminated.

When contacted, Dr Muhammad Haroon of Benazir Bhutto Hospital said that the contaminated water generated stomach and liver diseases among the people. He said cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and many stomach diseases were directly generated by contaminated water.

He said that people used to store water in under ground and overhead tanks in their houses and if water was not properly chlorinated then it would be infected.

He suggested that people should boil the water before use it as it was safe.

He said that water filtration plants should be cleaned after three months, in order to safeguard the health of the general public.

He said that keeping water in plastic bottles generated contamination and it should be boiled before use.

Dr Nadeem Malik, deputy medical superintendent of Holy Family Hospital, said that children were more prone to water borne diseases as compared to adults. He said that many patients visited the hospital with water borne diseases in the summer season.