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February 11, 2019

Supply of drinking water to Lahore: BRB Canal to be remodelled

National

February 11, 2019

LAHORE: Following the request of Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Punjab Irrigation Department has agreed to remodel BRB Canal to provide a link for supply of 100 cusecs canal water to the agency, which it will treat into clean drinking water.

Earlier, construction of a mini dam was proposed by the irrigation department near Ravi Syphon from where 100 cusecs of canal water will be provided to Wasa.

The project was already discussed with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was ready to provide a soft loan amounting to Rs50 billion for Waste and Surface Water Treatment Project, a mega project conceived by Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) in order to provide clean drinking water to the citizens as well as to save the underground water aquifer.

Under this project, Wasa will initially construct three waste water treatment plants and one surface water treatment plant in the provincial metropolis. Sources in Wasa revealed that the screening committee of the bank has also cleared the project and its technical committee has also discussed details of this project with Wasa authorities.

Wasa Managing Director Zahid Aziz said that around 15,000 acres of prime agricultural land would be submerged in case Wasa opted for mini dam at Ravi Syphon. He said secondly the site was far away from the site of water treatment plant, which is near Bhaini village on GT Road. He said the study of remodelling of BRB Canal for providing 100 cusecs of canal water to Wasa was in final stages and the project would be initiated very soon.

As per the project, three waste water treatment plants will be constructed at Mehmood Booti, Shadbagh and Shahdara areas, which will treat almost 40 percent waste water of the provincial metropolis while the only surface water treatment plant would be constructed at GT Road.

Environmental experts also appreciated this new project and said that excess water pumping could result in a future disaster and would worsen the problem resulting in further lowering of water table. They said projects of treating canal water into clean drinking water were already operative in many countries and were running successfully.

Zahid Aziz said that the groundwater supply of the city would not be able to support the drinking water needs of its rapidly growing population over the coming decade and for this alternative sources of drinking water should be explored and cultivated on emergent grounds.

He said Wasa management was taking every step to fight all future challenges relating to supply of drinking water and was aware of the gravity of situation regarding ground water depletion. He said a barrage would be constructed at the BRB Canal from where a water supply link would be provided to Wasa’s surface water treatment plant.

The draft feasibility of this proposal has already been submitted while Punjab Irrigation Department is carrying out a consultancy through G3 Consultants, he said adding the barrage would provide a temporary reservoir of treatable water for Wasa, while at the same time assisting a mechanism to replenish the depleting aquifer. It would inadvertently restore natural ecology of the River Ravi”, he told.

According to the project plan, this reservoir would be used as the feeding source for the Surface Water Treatment Plant (SWTP). Certain French investors have already expressed interest in the project and a delegation has also visited the proposed site of the treatment plant.

Wasa MD said that the provincial government was taking keen interest in the water treatment projects and a similar project was being initiated in Faisalabad. He said use of canal water as clean drinking water was an immediate and cheep solution, which would also improve the depleting underground water tables across the province.

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