- Rawalpindi’s MNA requests permission to install tubewells in Islamabad
- A civil society spokesperson said the decision would be made taking into account the needs of the capital.
ISLAMABAD: Supported by the nephew of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) has asked the Water Development Authority (CDA) to allow the installation of tube wells in the federal water jurisdiction for the citizens of Rawalpindi.
The garrison city’s civic agency, with the support of Member of Parliament (MNA) Sheikh Rashid Shafique, wrote to the CDA requesting that Wasa be able to install tubewells within limits to meet the water needs of the residents of Rawalpindi.
Wasa wants to install 15 wells in Islamabad, where it is already facing water shortages and groundwater levels are rapidly depleting.
“Yes, we have received an application from Wasa to install a tubewell in Islamabad. However, we have not made a decision, said CDA spokesman Syed Asif Raza.
“We will make the decision by considering our own needs first,” Raza said.
A final decision has not been made yet, but the city’s civil society water bureau and planning department have objected that Islamabad is already facing severe water shortages, according to CDA sources.
The CDA is an affiliated department of the Ministry of the Interior led by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, elected in the NA-62 constituency in Rawalpindi. His nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafique, is also a returning MP from the garrison’s NA-60 constituency.
Sources said the CDA had received Shafik’s letter in December but had not yet closed the file.
They said in early 2015-16, the CDA allowed the installation of 23 wells on the border of Islamabad along the service road west of the highway as the capital’s water table was rapidly depleting.
CDA officials said the city’s massive growth, population growth and rapid depletion of the water table put civic institutions in a difficult position.
In a letter dated December 24, 2021, Sheikh Rashid Shafique said: Planning Wing CDA Islamabad.”
When asked the CDA to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the project, Shafique said, “A portion of the funding is also being released to start the project immediately.”
CDA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Water Research Council (PCRWR) to improve the water table last year to build 150 recharge wells for rainwater storage to improve the water table.
In the past few decades, civic agencies have been unable to add water to the system from new water sources, except for the 2 million gallons of water from Rawal Dam, which has been restored after more than 20 years.
Currently, CDA is supplying 60-70mgd from three main sources: Simly Dam, Khanpur Dam and Tubewell, but actual demand according to its own research is 220mgd. Rawalpindi also suffers from water shortages.
The Twin Cities bet their hopes on the proposed mega Ghazi Barotha project.
In 2018, then Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi told the Senate in a written response that the level of groundwater in the capital has fallen fivefold in the past five years.
He said groundwater levels decreased by 6 feet in 2013, decreased by 10 feet in 2014, and decreased by 16 feet, 23 feet and 30 feet by 2017. He said groundwater levels in Islamabad are dropping due to extensive pumping by the department and residents to meet water requirements. This is because of below-normal rainfall.
Posted at Serb on March 22, 2022