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March 23, 2019

Call for collective efforts to address looming water crisis

Peshawar

March 23, 2019

PESHAWAR: Experts on Friday expressed concern over the looming water crisis in the country and called for collective efforts to conserve depleting water resources.

The Association of Water and Sanitation Services Companies (AWSC), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, organised the event on the World Water Day.

Secretary Local Government, Elections and Rural Development Department Zahir Shah, AWSC Chairman Nasir Ghafoor Khan, former vice-chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Peshawar, Imtiaz Gilani, Prof Dr Sagheer Aslam and heads of all water and sanitation services companies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were among the speakers.

The experts said water conservation was the collective responsibility of everyone and stressed the involvement of all stakeholders at every stage or else there would be no water if practices to waste water continued. Zahir Shah, while speaking on the occasion, said people should realise the importance of water and take steps for its conservation. “Though the government is taking steps on multiple fronts to conserve water, these would not bear fruit unless people play their due role,” he said.

To conserve water, he said, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had started charging Re1 per litre from water companies in light of the Supreme Court judgment.

He said that CCTV cameras would soon be installed on commercial utilities, adding that legislation was underway to charge consumers for extraction of ground water.

“The provincial government has constituted a task force that will make strategy to conserve water and ensure everyone’s access to it,” he added. Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) Chief Executive Officer Syed Zafar Ali Shah informed the participants about steps being taken to provide potable water to residents of Peshawar and to conserve water. He said that WSSP has replaced 284 kilometres rusted water pipeline and conducted 2000 water quality tests jointly with the UET Peshawar and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) to check contamination. On conservation, he said that all car wash centres, wedding halls and bottled water companies were being registered and installation of meters was underway. The WSSP CEO said that over 10,000 illegal water connections had been registered during the ongoing campaign. Zafar Ali Shah said that efforts were underway to include lessons on water and sanitation in syllabus from primary to secondary school certificate level. The UET former vice-chancellor Imtiaz Gilani said that 844 million people had no access to clean drinking water worldwide. “We must take steps to conserve water before it is too late,” he warned.