Sunday October 02, 2022

Groundwater recharge wells key to lessen risk of urban flooding

By Our Correspondent
September 17, 2022

LAHORE:Groundwater recharge wells are a cost-effective Nature-based Solution (NbS) to revive groundwater aquifers and mitigate the risk of urban flooding, experts participating in a media exposure field visit said.

Addressing the media personnel, Chairman, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Dr M Ashraf said that the water crisis was a serious issue for Pakistan, when it comes to the major metropolitan cities such as Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi. “The groundwater recharge solutions are the need of the hour especially in the prevailing floods that have occurred in an unprecedented fashion,” said Dr Ashraf.

He said that Pakistan was facing environmental degradation, as in one season the country was facing dryness with less rainfall and after few months, there were floods. Dr. Ashraf further said, “We have to increase water storage at every level and need to develop large, medium and small dams, where possible.”

Rainwater storage solutions such as artificial lakes in housing societies or artificial groundwater recharge wells can help recharge the groundwater, he added. In his welcome remarks, Country Representative - Central Asia Dr Mohsin Hafeez said that the latest IPCC report has highlighted a surge in heatwaves and heavy precipitation in South Asia due to human-induced activities and both phenomena have occurred this year in Pakistan.

“It was the worst flood due to riverine and hill torrents flood which was exacerbated by ill-planned housing societies, construction on riverbeds, and encroachments on water flows”. Dr Hafeez further added, “Climate change is having a major impact on water resources, as there is drought for nine months and rainfall for three months in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we have insufficient infrastructure, as no major dams have been constructed in the past 50 years.” He mentioned that the water recharge level in Islamabad was 130-150 mm in 1990 which had remained the same in 2021 but the rate of urbanisation has substantially increased. While highlighting the contribution of artificial groundwater recharge well towards groundwater replenishment at Kachnar Park site, he said, “Up to 1.9 million gallons of water has been added to the aquifer against the rainfall of 589 mm from May to Sept 2022 alone. Furthermore, a rise in the water table of 4.8 meters has been recorded.” On the second day of the media visit, journalists visited various rainwater harvesting underground tanks in Lahore that were state-of-the-art facilities by Wasa to store rainwater to prevent urban flooding in the vulnerable areas of Lahore. The water stored in the underground water tanks was later used for watering greenbelt plantations by Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA). The first site at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lawrence Road has the capacity to store 1.4 million gallons, with a catchment area of 30 acres and a ponding area of three acres. It was established at the cost of Rs140 million.