Monday Jun 21, 2021
LAHORE: For the first time in the history of the provincial capital, the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) has managed to stop the depletion of the underground water aquifer by taking effective measures.
Since 1960, underground water was depleting by one metre per year which means it was going down by 3.37 foot per year.
In 1960, the minimum level of underground water level was 5.7 metres and the 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 the extraordinary population growth is a major reason for the decline in water availability,” he claimed, adding that due to this, the ratio of per capita availability of water has declined.
He said the annual drop in Lahore’s underground water aquifer was up to 1 metre per annum but for the last three years, the underground aquifer has not decreased.
The MD termed it a big achievement and said maintaining the 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 that the steps taken by WASA to stop unnecessary use of underground water showed these results.
He said WASA, under the guidance of the Punjab government, took various steps to control the depletion of underground water. He said as a first step, WASA introduced a licensing system and the imposition of aquifer charges, which reduced the use of excessive water pumping being done by tube-wells in the private sector.
Secondly, WASA introduced recycling of car washing water at 310 service stations in Lahore and heavy fines were imposed on car washing units that didn’t install water recycling plants. He said at present, every car wash unit in the provincial metropolis has its own water recycling plant and WASA teams carry out their inspections randomly.
He said another landmark step of WASA to control the excessive use of underground water was the 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 the Dolphin Force was engaged to share pictures of water wastage as evidence.
WASA has also completed the construction of one underground rainwater storage tank while two are 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 the timing of all tube wells in the provincial capital was rescheduled. Earlier, the tube wells were operative for 18 hours and pumping water out of the ground while now they are operated for 8 hours a day.
“This landmark achievement is not possible without the support of the chief minister and Lahore Development Authority’s governing body,” he said and praised the entire WASA team and citizens.