A research conducted showed that about 69 per cent of water suppliers do not qualify for the National Standards for Drinking Water Quality. This alarming finding indicates how many lives in the country are at risk from unsafe water supplies.
A survey conducted by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) disclosed that there has been no more than ten per cent increase in the improvement of water quality since 2006.
The results of the research show that it is extremely difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG) Target 6.1, which calls for the provision of 100% clean water.
A deep and detailed testing of water samples was conducted by PCRWR’s National Water Quality Monitoring Program (NWQMP) in Islamabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kasur, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Mingora, Abbottabad, Mardan, Peshawar, Loralai, Quetta, Ziarat, Hyderabad, Karachi, Sukkur, Muzafarabad, Gilgit and Badin.
Moreover, a Judicial Commission has given instructions regarding carrying out similar kind of quality check tests in Sindh as well.
Out of the 369 sources that were selected for testing, 114 or 31 per cent sources were found safe as opposed to 255 (69 per cent) that were not. The study showed that 57 per cent of the water samples were microbiologically contaminated, while other contaminants included arsenic (6%), turbidity (8%), chloride (15%), nitrate (6%), TDS (11%), hardness (6%) and iron (10%).
369 sources were chosen for testing out of which 114 or 31 per cent of sources were free of contamination whereas 255 (69 per cent) was contaminated. The results indicated that 57 per cent samples were contaminated by micro-organisms while other sources of contamination included arsenic (6%), turbidity (8%), chloride (15%), nitrate (6%), TDS (11%), hardness (6%) and iron (10%).
“Although the latest data is not promising, it is at least better than the data we collected ten years ago. We need to pick up the pace because at this rate we will never be able to provide 100 per cent clean drinking water by 2030.” a senior official from PCRWR told.
He added that the worst water quality is in Sindh followed closely by Baluchistan. Things in KPK are a bit better in terms of water quality. Punjab remained at the top as far as water quality was concerned.
“Despite there being many directives to improve water quality in Sindh, the provincial government has done little to improve the situation. These things require substantial infrastructure and human resources on the part of the provincial governments, as after the 18th amendment, it is their responsibility to provide citizens with good quality drinking water.” he said.