Twin cities cannot accept more water due to limited capacity

Supply from Simly Dam can be enhanced if necessary repair work is carried out and new pipelines laid. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The twin cities cannot accept any additional supply of water despite a shortage because of limited capacity.

Residents of Islamabad have continued to face a shortage of water, with the supply from Simly Lake being rationed even though the water level in the lake is just 25 feet below peak capacity.

An official from the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad’s water supply department said that Islamabad is being supplied 34 million gallons of water daily (MGD) from Simly Lake, compared to an allocated supply of 39 MGD.

New water pipeline network needed in Islamabad, 100 meter channel connecting Rawal Lake to Wasa network needs to be improved

“The reason for rationing was not limited supply at the source but the limited capacity of the main trunk line,” the official said.

Outflow from the lake is replenished by regular rainfall and precipitation through the inflow from Murree and Patriata into the Soan River and from local streams.

Islamabad has a daily requirement of 120 MGD. The MCI is only able to meet half that, with the rest coming from boring systems that extract groundwater and private tanker services.

“The supply from Simly Dam can be enhanced by 10 MGD, but serious repair work is required and new water pipeline networks need to be laid,” the official said, adding that the existing main water trunk is marred by leaks and punctured by people to steal water.

Similar conditions prevail in Rawalpindi city, which is supplied water from Rawal Lake. On Tuesday, the water level in the lake was 1,750ft – just 2ft shy of peak capacity.

Water from Rawal Lake belongs to Rawalpindi city, because the dam was established over the Korang River and its water belongs to Punjab. The Punjab Irrigation Department is currently supplying the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) 23 MGD of water for Rawalpindi city, which can be increased by 5 MGD.

To increase the supply, the irrigation department would have to improve the 100 meter channel that connects to Wasa’s network, but Wasa does not have the capacity to cater to the increased demand.

The two cantonments and the city have a demand of around 60 MGD. Apart from Rawal Lake, around 15 MGD is supplied from Khanpur Dam and the remainder is met by more than 440 tubewells under the area’s three civic bodies.

The lower temperatures and adequate rainfall this month have helped to maintain the water level in the two reservoirs of the twin cities, but some areas in both cities continue to face water shortages.

While the occasional cloud cover reduces water evaporation, the lakes are expected to receive more water in the expected pre-monsoon rainfall in the second week of June, after which they will likely have the capacity to meet the bulk of the cities’ needs this summer.

The story was originally published in Dawn

Kalbe Ali

Reporter in Dawn

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