Rawalpindi : Much of Fazal Town Phase-1 and its adjoining areas Tajabad, Faisal Town, Gulzar-e-Quaid, Shah Khalid Colony, Dhoke Hafiz, etc. were on one occasion a periphery of Rawalpindi city and treated as a rural area. When these areas were developed and people started living here, they had no access to the tap water supply.
With the passage of time, these localities became part of the city and were labelled as urban areas. For quite a long period, the common source of water in these areas was borewell water i.e. groundwater, accessed by drilling the ground. Deeper borewells were dug for groundwater extraction.
The rise in the population of these localities and greater water use through the convenience of electrical pumps increased the depletion of the groundwater at an increased pace. Electrical pumps were no more able to pump out the water from the borewells; hence, the need arose for piped water supply from tube wells. Before piped water supply, these localities depended on private tankers for water supply.
According to the Wasa officials, the shortage of water was met by tube wells by laying down water pipes throughout these areas, however, these localities still suffer from the shortage of tube wells and Wasa intends to increase their number.
Borewells and tube wells are very similar. Both are vertically drilled wells, bored into an underground aquifer on the earth’s surface, to extract water for various purposes. The difference between the two lies in the type of casing used, the depth of this casing, and the type of soil where they are drilled. Casing to support the external surfaces of the borehole against collapse is required at certain depths and usually is made up of PVC pipes.
Excessive drilling of borewells and tube wells led to the exploitation of groundwater at higher rates than the rate of water recharge and caused depletion of the groundwater levels. To monitor this, the concerned authority should come up with laws and a statutory authority to regulate and monitor groundwater utilization.
The city administration should implement groundwater legislation acts, which prevent the drilling of borewells without their permission in the already water-scarce areas. It is so infrequent for water to flow through the taps here that residents say they have given up expecting it. The only other option for residents is to buy unfiltered water from private water tanker operators, who fill up from a network of legal and illegal water hydrants across the city.
A water tanker normally costs between Rs2,000 and Rs2,500. Ziarat Fatima, 40, living in Mohsin Waali Street in Fazal Town Phase-1 says she has to order at least four tankers a month to meet the basic needs of her household of 10 people on an income of approximately Rs15,000 a month.