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April 23, 2019

As days get hotter, water becomes scarce

Islamabad

April 23, 2019

There seems to be a ‘tug of war’ continuing between spring season and the summer in Islamabad. This reminds one of the old days of Islamabad of mid-1960s and ‘70s when the spring season always used to be very pleasant and lasted till the end of April.

And even during summer it used to rain almost every third of fourth day and we used to pray it not to rain on Sundays because that would spoil our weekly cricket matches.And in the monsoon, we used to have rains lasting the whole week without a break and sometimes people used to offer special prayers in mosques for the rains to stop!

And we hardly used to have drinking water shortage. In those days we used to drink the tap water supplied by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and no one ever thought of buying water to drink! At that time there was no Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI).

But today, people living in Islamabad, the Federal Capital, are forced to buy water not only for drinking purposes but even to take a bath and flush toilets!Not that all the people living in Islamabad are confronted with same situation. In most parts of the city, the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) is supplying enough water that people can wash their SUVs and vehicles and water their spacious lawns as well.

However, the situation is worrisome, especially in the Chak Shehzad, Rawal Town and particularly the Margalla Town, which was expanded in two phases. There are two deep-sunk tube wells to cater to the need of the population in Margalla Town but they are hardly meeting the requirements of the residents.

While the summer is still not fully settled in the people in these areas, especially in the Margalla Town, have started feeling its brunt in shape of water shortage. The MCI, which shoulders the responsibility to maintain regular water supply to the residents seems to be already caught on the wrong foot while the demand for water supply is yet to increase.

All the major sources of water supply to the federal capital, the Simly Dam, the share from Khanpur dam as well as the tube wells are under the control of MCI and so is the water supply system through tankers on complaint.

A resident in Margalla Town sent his complaint on the public portal created by the Prime Minister to directly receive public complaints. Interestingly, the status of his complaint on this portal is ‘Issue Resolved’ whereas there is no change in the situation!

But one thing is indeed good for some individuals. The business of private water suppliers has already started showing signs of highly promising growth, especially in Margalla Town.They are supplying one water tanker for Rs1,500, almost double what they used to charge last summer. Apparently there is such a great potential in this ‘water supply business’ that now the owners of these tractor-drawn water tanker owners have already started leaving their business cards and pamphlets with contact numbers at the doorsteps of residents of Margalla Town.

One wonders while the MCI is unable to meet the demand of residents of Margalla Town, and may be other areas as well, from where thse ‘tanker mafia’ is getting water to supply?We have no reason to believe as if this ‘tanker mafia’ is being promoted through connivance of some elements sitting somewhere in the MCI or they are just ‘better performers’ in the field!

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