ISLAMABAD: The groundwater level in Islamabad is decreasing at an alarming rate of 5 to 8 feet per year, due to excessive pumping by departments and residents to meet water requirements, according to official statistics prepared by the civic agency.
The federal capital has experienced a five-fold reduction in groundwater over the last five years, with a decrease of six feet in 2013, ten feet in 2014, and 16, 23, and 30 feet from 2015 to 2017.
Conservationist Azhar Javed explained, “Groundwater depletion occurs because of the frequent pumping of water from the ground.”
“We continuously pump groundwater from aquifers, and it does not have enough time to replenish itself. Pumping water out of the ground faster than it is replenished over the long term causes’ similar problems.”
Furthermore, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have a total of 9,170 public and private tube wells and boreholes.
However, this number is likely to be understated, with the number of illegal wells and bores believed to be significantly higher.
With only three dams, Rawal, Khanpur, and Simli, supplying water to the cities, and increasing private housing societies, there is no immediate solution to the twin cities’ water crisis.
Despite successive governments’ attention to the issue, there is no proposal under consideration to construct small dams in Islamabad, particularly near Margallah hills, due to the non-availability of feasible dam sites.
In 2005, the civic agency reviewed a proposal to build six small dams, but this failed to receive approval due to technical reasons.
The lack of action on the water crisis in Islamabad, combined with rapid urbanization, highlights the need for sustainable management of water resources and more efficient use of available water.