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Saturday April 20, 2024

Lahore water level stops declining first time in history

Since 1960, underground water was depleting by one metre per year which means underground water was going down by 3.37 foot per year.

By Ali Raza
June 21, 2021

LAHORE: For the first time in the history of Lahore, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has managed to stop depletion of underground water aquifer by taking effective measures to stop unnecessary use of groundwater.

Since 1960, underground water was depleting by one metre per year which means underground water was going down by 3.37 foot per year.

In 1960, the minimum level of underground water level was 5.7 metres and maximum was 15.695 metres whereas in 2018 the minimum level was 23.500 metres and the maximum level was 50.150 metres.

In 2019, the minimum level of underground water aquifer improved slightly as it came to 23 metres whereas the maximum level also improved a little and stayed at 50 metres. Similarly, in 2020 the minimum level and maximum level remained at 23 metres and 50 metres, respectively.

Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz said drinking water in Pakistan has declined by six times per capita since 1960.

“Nature has blessed Pakistan with abundant water but extraordinary population growth is a major reason for decline in water availability,” he claimed, adding due to this the ratio of per capita availability of water has declined. He said annual drop in Lahore’s underground water aquifer was up to 1 metre per annum but for the last three years the underground aquifer was not decreasing.

The MD termed it a big achievement and said maintaining minimum and maximum levels of underground water aquifer means that the life of Lahore’s underground water aquifer has increased.

“If this depletion continued then in the coming years the city may witness water scarcity,” he said, adding the steps taken by Wasa to stop unnecessary use of underground water showed these results.

He said Wasa, under the guidance of Punjab government, took various steps to control depletion of underground water. He said as a first step, Wasa introduced licensing system and imposition of aquifer charges, which reduced the use of excessive water pumping being done by tube-wells in private sector.

Secondly, Wasa introduced recycling of car washing water at 310 service stations in Lahore and heavy fines were imposed on the car washing units who didn’t install water recycling plants. He said presently every car wash unit in the provincial metropolis has its own water recycling plant and Wasa teams carried out their inspections randomly.

He said another landmark step of Wasa to control excessive use of underground water was introduction of reuse of ablution water at 200 mosques. He said used ablution water was transferred to nearby parks for gardening purposes due to which the water pumping by Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) reduced significantly.

He said that fines on water wastage due to ramp washing and car washing through pipes in residential, commercial and industrial areas were also imposed and Dolphin Force was engaged to share pictures of water wastage as evidence.

Wasa has also completed construction of one underground rainwater storage tank while two were under construction. These tanks will store rainwater which will be later used by PHA for gardening purposes and fire brigade services and it will further reduce the use of tube wells.

The MD said that timing of all tube wells in the provincial capital was rescheduled. Earlier, the tube wells were operative for 18 hours and pumping water out from the ground while now they were operated for 8 hours a day.

“This landmark achievement is not possible without the support of the chief minister and LDA’s governing body,” he said and praised the entire Wasa team and citizens who gave full support to Wasa.